Here are five things to know about the award and spinal cord injury research:
1. Shekar Kurpad, MD, associate professor of neurosurgery, is principal investigator for the study team to resarch new imaging-based tools to help physicians accurately predict the return of neurological function after spinal cord injury. He has also served as director of the Spinal Cord Injury Center at Froedtert Hospital.
2. The award is a renewal of a $450,000 exploratory grant to the group to examine diffusion MRI imaging for spinal cord injury. The technology measures the "Magnitude and direction of diffusion of water molecules in the tissue," according to the report. The technique was initially developed for brain imaging.
3. One of Dr. Kurpad's areas of research has been in neuroprotective drugs for spinal cord injury patients to prevent a second injury onset after the initial injury occurs. The mediation can help localize the injury and prevent its spread throughout the back, according to a Milwaukee Public Radio report.
4. The annual global market for spinal cord injury is estimated at $10 billion. There are no successful treatment options for SCI patients yet, but several companies are focusing on biologics to develop neuroprotective treatments and other technology to return quality of life to spinal cord injury patients.
5. According to the University of Alabama at Birmingham's National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, there are about 12,000 new cases of spinal cord injury per year. The number of people living in the United States with SCI was estimated at 273,000 in 2013, and almost half of all injuries occurred between the ages of 16 and 30. More than 80.7 percent of SCI reported in national databases occur among males. The average cost for patients living with SCI is $70,575 per year, depending on education, severity of injury and pre-injury employment.
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