Current Research and Cutting-Edge Resources



(There is tremendous evidence of new scientific findings and new applied treatment options that are now guiding the: Spinal Cord "Recovery-Path". We will continually build, highlight and share resources, programs and services). 


Spinal-cord Injury

By: Dr. John W McDonald, MD and Cristina Sadowsky, MD



“More than a decade ago, spinal-cord injury meant confinement to a wheelchair and a lifetime of medical comorbidity. The physician's armamentarium of treatments was very limited, and provision of care for individuals with spinal-cord injury was usually met with frustration. Advances in neurosciences have drawn attention to research into spinal-cord injury. Nowadays, advanced interventions provide high hope for regeneration and functional restoration. As scientific advances become more frequent, scepticism is giving way to the ideas that spinal-cord injury will eventually be repairable and that strategies to restore function are within our grasp. We address the present understanding of spinal-cord injury, its cause, pathophysiology, diagnosis, and treatment, and look at promising research avenues. We also discuss new treatment options, including functional electric stimulation and part-weight-supported walking.”


The Health and Life Priorities of Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury: A Systematic Review

By: Lisa A. Simpson, Janice J. Eng, Jane T.C. Hsieh, and Dalton L. Wolfe and the Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Evidence (SCIRE) Research Team



“Determining the priorities of individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) can assist in choosing research priorities that will ultimately improve their quality of life. This systematic review examined studies that directly surveyed people with SCI to ascertain their health priorities and life domains of importance. Twenty-four studies (a combined sample of 5262 subjects) that met the inclusion criteria were identified using electronic databases (Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL, and PsycINFO). The questionnaire methods and domains of importance were reviewed and described. While the questionnaires varied across studies, a consistent set of priorities emerged. Functional recovery priorities were identified for the following areas: motor function (including arm/hand function for individuals with tetraplegia, and mobility for individuals with paraplegia), bowel, bladder, and sexual function. In addition, health, as well as relationships, emerged as important life domains. The information from this study, which identified the priorities and domains of importance for individuals with SCI, may be useful for informing health care and research agenda-setting activities.”

Psychological Consequences of Social Isolation During COVID-19 Outbreak

By: Giada Pietrabissa and Susan G Simpson


Abstract: “Perceived social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic significantly has had an extraordinary global impact, with significant psychological consequences. Changes in our daily lives, feeling of loneliness, job losses, financial difficulty, and grief over the death of loved ones have the potential to affect the mental health of many. In an atmosphere of uncertainty, it is essential that clear and precise information is offered about the problem and how to manage it. In this contribution, a rationale is provided for an urgent call for a rapid response to the mental health impacts of COVID-19. Moreover, suggestions for individuals to regulate their emotions effectively and appropriately are provided.”


An examination of objective social disconnectedness and perceived social isolation among persons with spinal cord injury/dysfunction: a descriptive cross-sectional study

By: Sara J. T. Guilcher, B. Catharine Craven, Rebecca L. Bassett-Gunter, Stephanie R. Cimino & Sander L. Hitzig



Purpose: “To describe objective social disconnectedness and perceived social isolation post-spinal cord injury/dysfunction (SCI/D), and to examine associations among social disconnectedness and social isolation by sociodemographic and clinical characteristics.”

Results: Of the 170 participants, the majority were men (n = 136, 80%), had a traumatic injury (n = 149, 87.6%), and had incomplete tetraplegia (n = 58, 34%). The mean network size was 3.86 (SD = 2.0) of a maximum seven. The mean loneliness score for the sample was 4.93 (SD = 1.87). Factors associated with lower feelings of loneliness included being married, living with a higher proportion of network members, and being employed. Size of networks was not significantly associated with feelings of loneliness.



The Value in Mental Health Screening for Individuals With Spinal Cord Injury: What Patients Tell Us

By: Colleen McMillan PhDa Joseph Lee MD, CCFP, FCFP, MCl ScbLoretta M.Hillier MAc James Milligan BSc PT, MD, CCFPb Linda Lee MD, MClSc(FM), CCFP(COE), FCFPbCraig Bauman DCb Michelle Ferguson MScOTb Karen Slonim PhDb Kay Weber MAb



“To gather consumer perspectives of a mental health screening protocol and to identify the incidence of previously unrecognized mental health concerns (case finding).”


“Pilot study using mixed methods: quantitative (survey) and qualitative (interviews).”


“Primary care health team in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.”


“Patients (N=15) with spinal cord injury living in the community. Participants ranged in age from 21 to 81 years of age (mean=46); 12 were men, 8 had tetraplegia and 5 paraplegia. The number of years since injury ranged from 1 to 32 (mean=13).”


“Implementation of a mental health screening protocol consisting of standardized screening tools for depression, anxiety, substance abuse, social isolation, somatoform disorder, functional status, chronic pain, and cognitive impairment.”


“Screening identified 11 of 15 individuals with a chronic pain condition; 1 individual screened positive for depression, 1 for anxiety, 3 for potential substance abuse, and 1 for social isolation. Most of the participants (12/13) rated the screening protocol as very acceptable. All but 1 individual intended to follow resulting treatment recommendations. Interview analyses generated themes related to disclosure of experiences that were incomplete that concealed important information and perceptions that the screening protocol failed to assess resiliency. Although perceived as valuable, participants felt screening tools alone did not capture information important to them.”


“Screening tools alone may not identify mental health issues. Interviews in addition to screening tools are needed to accurately identify mental health issues in this population. Identification of mental health issues is critical to ensuring access to effective interventions and improving health outcomes and quality of life for individuals with SCI.”


Physical activity and life satisfaction among individuals with spinal cord injury: Exploring loneliness as a possible mediator

By: Nicholas Santino, Victoria Larocca,Sander L. Hitzig,Sara J.T. Guilcher, B. Catharine Craven & Rebecca L. Bassett-Gunter


Context: “There has been no known research investigating the association between leisure time physical activity (LTPA), loneliness, and life satisfaction among people with spinal cord injury or dysfunction (SCI/D). The relationship between these constructs is worthy of consideration given the positive health impacts of LTPA, the negative health impacts of loneliness, and heightened negative effects of loneliness on life satisfaction for individuals with SCI/D.”

Objectives: “To examine the relationship between LTPA and loneliness, and examine loneliness as a possible mediator of the relationship between LTPA and life satisfaction among individuals with SCI/D.”

Design and Participants: “Community dwelling individuals with SCI/D (N = 170) participated in a telephone-based survey as part of a larger project.”

Measures: “LTPA (i.e. The Leisure Time Physical Activity Questionnaire-SCI, UCLA Loneliness Scale-3, and the Life Satisfaction Questionnaire-11 were administered to the participants.”

Results: “Significant bivariate relationships were observed between LTPA and life satisfaction (r = .18, P = .02), LTPA and loneliness (r = –.15, P = .045), and loneliness and life satisfaction (r = –.69, P < .001). Mediation analyses suggest that loneliness significantly mediated the relationship between LTPA and life satisfaction (indirect effect = .003, 95% bootstrap CI = .0004 to .0062, CSI = .113).”

Conclusion: “This was the first study to show evidence of a negative association between LTPA and loneliness among people with SCI/D, and to establish a conceptual model for understanding the potential mediating role of loneliness in the relationship between LTPA and life satisfaction among people with SCI/D.”



Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation:

Mayo Clinic:

New Realities:

Barwis Methods:

The science, combined with hope, prayer and determination - are leading the way!

Everything is possible!

"Transformational Care!"