University of Heidelberg
Faculty of Medicine Mannheim
University Hospital Mannheim
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[Novel aspects of diagnostics and therapy of spinal cord diseases].

R. Rupp, A. Blesch, L. Schad, B. Draganski and N. Weidner

Nervenarzt, 85 (8), pp.946-954

Both non-traumatic and traumatic spinal cord injuries have in common that a relatively minor structural lesion can cause profound sensorimotor and autonomous dysfunction. Besides treating the cause of the spinal cord injury the main goal is to restore lost function as far as possible.This article provides an overview of current innovative diagnostic (imaging) and therapeutic approaches (neurorehabilitation and neuroregeneration) aiming for recovery of function after non-traumatic and traumatic spinal cord injuries.An analysis of the current scientific literature regarding imaging, rehabilitation and rehabilitation strategies in spinal cord disease was carried out.Novel magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) based techniques (e.g. diffusion-weighted MRI and functional MRI) allow visualization of structural reorganization and specific neural activity in the spinal cord. Robotics-driven rehabilitative measures provide training of sensorimotor function in a targeted fashion, which can even be continued in the homecare setting. From a preclinical point of view, defined stem cell transplantation approaches allow for the first time robust structural repair of the injured spinal cord.Besides well-established neurological and functional scores, MRI techniques offer the unique opportunity to provide robust and reliable "biomarkers" for restorative therapeutic interventions. Function-oriented robotics-based rehabilitative interventions alone or in combination with stem cell based therapies represent promising approaches to achieve substantial functional recovery, which go beyond current rehabilitative treatment efforts.

Contact: Dr. Frank Zöllner last modified: 14.01.2019
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