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Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injury causes myelopathy or damage to white matter or myelinated fiber tracts that carry sensation and motor signals to and from the brain. [1][2] It also damages gray matter in the central part of the spine, causing segmental losses of interneurons and motorneurons. Spinal cord injury can occur from many causes, including:

The American Spinal Cord Injury Association or ASIA defined an international classification based on neurological levels, touch and pinprick sensations tested in each dermatome, and strength of ten key muscles on each side of the body, i.e. shoulder shrug (C4), elbow flexion (C5), wrist extension (C6), elbow extension (C7), hip flexion (L2). Traumatic spinal cord injury is classified into five types by the American Spinal Injury Association and the International Spinal Cord Injury Classification System.

In addition, there are several clinical syndromes associated with incomplete spinal cord injuries.

One can have spine injury without spinal cord injury. Many people suffer transient loss of function ("stingers") in sports accidents or pain in "whiplash" of the neck without neurological loss and relatively few of these suffer spinal cord injury sufficient to warrant hospitalization. In the United States, the incidence of spinal cord injury has been estimated to be about 35 cases per million per year, or approximately 10,500 per year (35 * 300). In China, the incidence of spinal cord injury was recently estimated to be as high as 65 cases per million per year in urban areas. If so, assuming a population of 1.3 billion, this would suggest an incidence of 84,500 per year (65 * 1300).

The article above is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Spinal cord injury".