Category Medical Research

Ageing increases impact of spinal cord compression

FEM (Finite Element Method) analyses the impact of mechanical loads e.g. 'stress'. It was principally used in engineering (for example aerospace), but increasingly also medical research At the moment, we do not have medical investigations which are able to represent accurately the significance of spinal cord injury.  For example, you could have two patients with exactly the same MRI changes, one who is without symptoms and th [...]

Should you have physiotherapy after surgery?

by A Badran At present, surgery is the mainstay of treatment for myelopathy.  Whilst it is able to stop further injury to the spinal cord by relieving impingement, the limited capacity for the spinal cord to repair leads to only partial recovery.  Therefore strategies to improve recovery after surgery are a major unmet need in myelopathy. This has generated much interest in postoperative therapies to maximise posto [...]

Can we detect myelopathy before symptoms develop?

By J.Hamilton. Why is ASCC relevant to Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy?Asymptomatic spinal cord compression (ASCC) is very common; studies of healthy volunteers has identified between 8 and 59 in every 100 patients who underwent a cervical MRI had it! [1]  These are the same compression features seen in DCM, however less that 1 in a hundred patients from these studies had any symptoms of myelopathy….   Hence the term ASCC (as opposed to DCM, which is defined by the symptom [...]

Under pressure: compressed arteries in DCM

by Max Stewart Freddie Mercury immortalising the Queen song 'Under Pressure' One of the most perplexing things about DCM is the role of spinal cord compression in the disease. It easy to think that the picture is a simple one: as the spine degenerates (joints wearing out, ligaments hardening and bones shifting position) the spinal cord gradually becomes compressed. This compression damages the spinal cord, kills off nerves cells a [...]

Neck Muscles and CSM– An Update Part 2 of 2

By Timothy BoergerReviewed by B.Davies​Neck Muscles and CSM– An Update Part 2 of 2​This second of a 2-part mini-series on the properties of muscles in the neck and how they impact outcomes of surgery. We previously looked at this following an early piece of research from North America.  This series will serve as an update on this research.Why was this study conducted?For a short recap of the previous 2 blogs related to this: how much fat there is within muscles has b [...]

More to Myelopathy than meets the eye

By O.MowforthEdited by B.DaviesWe don’t really know what symptoms a “typical” patient with myelopathy has. In fact, the huge number of often quite subtle and non-specific symptoms is probably one of the main reasons why early diagnosis is so challenging (Davies et al., 2018).  When medical students prepare for exams they tend to learn stereotypical descriptions of conditions. For myelopathy, this might be a patient with walking problems and clumsy hands.​Howeve [...]

Neck Muscles and CSM/DCM

​ By Timothy BoergerReviewed by B.DaviesNeck Muscles and CSM– An Update Part 1 of 2 ​This will be the first of a 2 part mini-series on the properties of muscles in the neck and how they impacts outcomes of surgery. We previously looked at this following an early piece of research from North America.  This series will serve as an update on this research. Why was this study conducted?As outlined previously, the amount of fat found within muscles has been linked [...]

Making new brain cells: how mice could help astronauts and DCM patients

By M StewartEditor: B DaviesIt’s a commonly held belief that you can’t grow new brain cells as adult; you’re born with one hundred billion neurons and that’s as many as you’re getting. However, this isn’t quite the case. While new neurons don’t form in most parts of the human central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord), there are two special areas where new neurons do indeed arise after birth. These areas are found in specific parts of the brain w [...]

Myelopathy Research Struggling To Gain Attention

By Timothy BoergerReviewed by B.Davies​Reason for the studyThe number of times a paper is cited is a common metric of how meaningful that paper is to the scientific community. Generally, papers that are highly cited have a profound impact on their field. If scientists look at the trends of which papers are most cited, it can give us an idea of what topics within a scientific discipline are experiencing the most interest over time.​MethodsThe prominent journals publishing resear [...]

Spinal Cord Stem Cell Transplantation for Spinal Cord Injury

By A.WillisonReviewed by B.Davies​Humans require many different repair and renewal strategies. At the earliest point in life, we need these pathways to grow and develop but in later life, we use these pathways to recover from disease and injury. For this, our bodies activate a unique type of cell known as a stem cell. Stem cells are a special form of cell, as they can make any cell type in the body, and so can provide building blocks for our organs and tissues.  Over the past 20 year [...]