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Papers of the Week


Handb Clin Neurol


Spinal cord lesions.


Rupp R
Handb Clin Neurol. 2020; 168:51-65.
PMID: 32164868.


A spinal cord injury (SCI) may result in impairments of motor, sensory, and autonomous functions below the injury level. Worldwide, the prevalence of SCI is 1:1000 and the incidence is between 4 and 9 new cases per 100,000 people per year. Most common causes for traumatic SCI are traffic accidents, falls, and violence. Nowadays, the proportion of patients with tetraplegia and paraplegia is equal. In industrialized countries, the percentage of nontraumatic injuries increases together with age. Most patients with initially preserved motor functions below the injury level show a substantial functional recovery, while three quarters of patients with initially complete SCI remain that way. In SCI, brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) may be used in the subacute phase as part of a restorative therapy program and, later, for control of assistive devices most needed by individuals with high cervical lesions. Research on structural and functional reorganization of the deefferented and deafferented brain after SCI is inconclusive mainly because of varying methods of analysis and the heterogeneity of the investigated populations. A better characterization of study participants with SCI together with documentation of confounding factors such as antispasticity medication or neuropathic pain is indicated.