Center of Excellence on the Medical Consequences of Spinal Cord Injury
The mission of the VA Rehabilitation, Research & Development National Center of Excellence for the Medical Consequences of Spinal Cord Injury is to improve patients' quality of life and increase their longevity by preventing and intervening in the secondary medical consequences that result from having a spinal cord injury.
Center of Excellence Address
VA RR&D National Center of Excellence for the Medical Consequences of Spinal Cord Injury
James J. Peters VA Medical Center
130 West Kingsbridge Road, SCI Room 7A-13
Bronx, NY 10468
Tel: 718-584-9000 Fax: 718-741-4675
Center of Excellence Directors Center Director: William A. Bauman, MD email@example.com Associate Director: Ann M. Spungen, EdD firstname.lastname@example.org Program Program Principal Investigators Endocrine: William A. Bauman, MD (x5428) email@example.com Pulmonary: Greg J. Schilero, MD (x3129) firstname.lastname@example.org Miroslav Radulovic, MD (x5472) email@example.com Gastroenterology: Mark A. Korsten, MD (x6709) firstname.lastname@example.org Cardiovascular/Autonomic: Jill M. Wecht, EdD (x3122) email@example.com Molecular: Christopher P. Cardozo, MD (x1828) firstname.lastname@example.org Administrative Officer: Michael LaFountaine, EdD (x3121) email@example.com Staff Assistant: Melissa Veale (x5418) firstname.lastname@example.org Auxiliary Programs Principal Investigators Neurorehabilitation Noam Y. Harel, MD, PhD (x1742) email@example.com Thermoregulation John P. Handrakis, EdD, DPT (x5439) firstname.lastname@example.org Chronic Kidney Disease James B. Post, MD (x6623) email@example.com
The VA RR&D National Center of Excellence for the Medical Consequences of spinal Cord Injury is devoted toward improving all aspects of life for persons with spinal cord injury - not just the most obvious one of living with paralysis. Individuals living with SCI face daily hurdles involving blood pressure regulation, breathing, bowel and bladder control, temperature regulation, bone loss, elevated blood sugar, and other issues. Our Center investigators are actively working on solutions for each of these problems, and have published more than 200 papers in the field of SCI research.
Areas of Research:
Investigator: Jill M. Wecht, EdD
After suffering a SCI, maintaining blood pressure is often a challenge. We are studying how SCI disrupts normal blood pressure regulation. The benefit of medications to keep blood pressure in the normal range while sitting is being evaluated. Keeping blood pressure normal while seated upright should maintain the ability of an individual to think normally.
Investigators: Gregory Schilero, MD & Miroslav Radulovic, MD
High thoracic and cervical level spinal injuries cause weakness of the muscles of breathing. The inability to cough and/or to exhale forcefully is associated with lung complications, including serious pulmonary infections. Different medications and/or a mechanical devise to decrease respiratory symptoms and to improve cough and breathing are being investigated. Sleep disturbances of breathing are also being studied.
Investigator: Mark A. Korsten, MD
Having a SCI is frequently associated with difficulty with bowel evacuation. Our investigators are testing a medication combination by its delivery through the nose to improve routine bowel care. We are also studying bowel cleansing approaches to improve the quality of colonoscopy to increase the polyp detection rate, which should reduce the risk of developing colon cancer.
Investigator: William A. Bauman, M.D
Cardiovascular disease is now recognized as a major cause of illness and death in those with SCI. Our investigators are studying ways to identify individuals with an increased risk of heart disease; those who have an increased risk can be identified and then appropriately treated to lower the chances of having a heart attack. We are also interested in preventing bone loss shortly after SCI or reversing the bone loss in those with long-standing SCI with medications and by mechanical means.
Physical Activity Research and Quality of Life
Investigator: Ann M. Spungen, EdD
Lack of mobility and accessibility makes getting exercise quite difficult for many persons with SCI. In association with the clinical Rehabilitation Service, our investigators are studying several forms of exercise, which individuals with SCI of different levels can safely perform. This approach to activity/exercise should improve health and quality of life.
Thermal Regulation Research
Investigator: John P. Handrakis, DPT, EdD
In persons with tetraplegia, body temperature is a challenge to maintain constant to even small changes in environmental temperature. Our investigators are studying the responses to mild changes in environmental temperature under carefully controlled conditions in our new thermal testing room. Medications to assist the body to keep temperature in the normal range are being tested.
Investigator: Noam Y. Harel, MD, PhD
Individuals with SCI usually have residual nerve connections, even if they don’t have conscious control over them. We are using sophisticated approaches to identify and measure these spared nerve pathways. The next step is to find the best combination of physical exercises and other treatments to stimulate these connections for improved function and movement.
Chronic Kidney Disease Research
Investigator: James B. Post, MD
The prevalence of cognitive impairment in hemodialysis (HD) patients is higher than the general population and ranges from mild to severe. While HD treatments are life-saving, they are associated with circulatory stress and abnormal bone mineral metabolism that may have neurologic complications. Our investigators are studying the neurocognitive profile of cognitive impairment in HD patients as well as the potential role of severe vitamin D deficiency. Future studies will incorporate advanced neuro-imaging techniques with the potential to identify subclinical brain lesions that may be responsible for cognitive impairment.
Last Reviewed or Updated Thursday, January 19, 2012 10:05 AM