An estimated 11,000 spinal cord injuries occur each year in the United States and more than 200,000 Americans suffer from maladies associated with spinal cord injury. This includes paralysis, bowel and bladder dysfunction, sexual dysfunction, respiratory impairment, temperature regulation problems, and chronic pain. During the last two decades, longstanding beliefs about the inability of the adult central nervous system to heal itself have been eroded by the flood of new information from research in the neurosciences and related fields. However, there are still no cures and the challenge of restoring function in the wake of spinal cord injuries remains extremely complex.
Spinal Cord Injury examines the future directions for research with the goal to accelerate the development of cures for spinal cord injuries. While many of the recommendations are framed within the context of the specific needs articulated by the New York Spinal Cord Injury Research Board, the Institute of MedicineaEURO (TM)s panel of experts looked very broadly at research priorities relating to future directions for the field in general and make recommendations to strengthen and coordinate the existing infrastructure. Funders at federal and state agencies, academic organizations, pharmaceutical and device companies, and non-profit organizations will all find this book to be an essential resource as they examine their opportunities.