Victories over paralysis are what motivate us as we design each experiment, document and categorize each participant’s progress. We are an international team committed to understanding the neuroscience of spinal cord function and then translating scientific findings to clinical practice. This moves us continually toward fully overcoming paralysis.
Every spinal cord injury is as unique as the person who experiences it. We strive to understand each individual injury and the impact it has on an individual’s life. Every incremental gain a person makes in mobility, health and quality of life is a true victory over paralysis.
The University of Louisville’s Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center (KSCIRC) has basic scientific and translational medical research taking place right alongside the best in clinical care at Frazier Rehab Institute. It is the proximity of labs to that clinical care that makes daily, incremental victories available to patients as quickly as possible. This is the definition of evidence-based practice and that practice informs the next round of research. We have a unique interdisciplinary “Discovery to Recovery” continuum all under one leadership team.
Locomotor training is the cornerstone to recovery of function below the level of injury, reducing secondary complications and improving quality of life. Epidural stimulation was a breakthrough in our understanding of control of movement and the possibilities for the most severely injured. Rob Summers, who had a severe spinal cord injury, received the epidural implant in 2009 and began the experimental training that accompanied it. Today, a small number of other individuals have undergone the treatment and are experiencing similar, unexpected, yet significant results. We are now preparing for clinical trial work that we hope will result in making this treatment more widely available to the SCI community.
Building upon this strong foundation and success, we have extended our clinical services and research to children with paralysis due to spinal cord injuries. Some children are born with paralysis because of conditions such as spinal tumors, while paralysis strikes others as a result of physical trauma or acquired diseases. These injuries interrupt a child’s normal growth and development. KSCIRC has pioneered pediatric research and the practice of activity-based therapies, specifically locomotor training, to promote recovery for kids after spinal cord injury. We have seen improved abilities to sit, stand, balance, and step. Nothing beats the feeling of watching our kids kick paralysis!