AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 3, 2017

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Researchers Find Possible Treatment for Suppressed Immunity from Spine Injuries

Most patients who have suffered from a spinal cord injury that is classified as higher than thoracic level 5 (T5) began to develop dangerous immune suppression as a result. As the body rushes to react and adapt to the spinal cord injury, new and abnormal autonomic nervous system circuitry can begin to form. The autonomic nervous system controls the bodily functions that are not consciously directed, such as breathing, heartbeat, digestion and immune function. These injuries can begin to take a toll on these types of functions as the immune system rushes to fight the injury. “Infection, a consequence of immune suppression, is the leading cause of death for people with spinal cord injuries,” said Yutaka Yoshida, PhD, co-lead author and a scientist in the Division of Developmental Biology at Cincinnati Children’s. “Patients and mouse models of spinal injury also are subject to autonomic dysreflexia, a potentially fatal clinical syndrome marked by episodes of high blood pressure.” To read more on this study, click here

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