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Major depression has long been a battle for persons who have experienced a spinal cord injury. We are currently enrolling patients in a first-ever study of its kind, a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial on the use of the antidepressant venlafaxine XR (Effexor XL) for individuals with spinal cord injury. The study is designed to study the efficacy and tolerability of venlafaxine XR as a treatment for major depression, measuring not only the reduction in the severity of the depression, but also changes in pain and the quality of life. This collaborative studies involves our center along with University of Washington, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, University of Michigan and University of Alabama, Birmingham.
For more information, please contact Dr. Ann Marie Warren at 214.820.9315 or AnnMariW@baylorhealth.edu.
The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) designated BIR’s TBI program as one of the fourteen TBI Model Systems in the nation. BIR’s TBI program was designated part of this prestigious network from 2002-2007 and achieved designation again for 2007-2012.
As part of this effort, researchers at BIR are studying the role of human growth hormone deficiency in the recovery of TBI patients. Up to 35 percent of these patients have deficiencies in human growth hormone, and these insufficient growth hormone levels may be contributing to limited recovery after TBI. Since most repair and regeneration occurs in the first few months following the injury, researchers theorize that early recombinant human growth hormone treatment could improve a patient’s functional outcome. The results of this study could positively affect the quality of life for TBI survivors.
One’s reaction, adaptation and resiliency to a traumatic event is the focus of BIR’s program, a study conducted in collaboration with the University of North Texas and spinal cord injury patients. Researchers are searching why some people adapt more successfully after trauma than others and the role resilience plays in their outcome.
Resilience following traumatic injuries is a new area of research in the field and we have now published two articles on this in the national peer reviewed journal, Rehabilitation Psychology. BIR was also awarded a Quality of Life grant from the Christopher Reeves Foundation. This grant helps to support our Spinal Cord Injury Peer Mentor Program that trains persons with spinal cord injury to act as mentors to newly injured patients.
BIR’s research with stroke patients will be a giant step forward for rehabilitative care. Traditionally, relearning to walk after a stroke is not only agonizingly slow, but also frustrating: patients often do not regain a symmetrical or balanced gait, which directly impacts their quality of life. In the Body Weight Support Treadmill Training study at BIR, a special treadmill system that partially supports the patient’s body weight allows therapists to teach patients to walk correctly in a safe, controlled manner. Once patients regain a natural gait, they graduate to flat surfaces and eventually walk without assistance. Of the 12 patients in the study, all have had successful outcomes, the results of which will soon be published in the prestigious Archives of Physical Medicine.
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