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Highlighting Research in Gulf War Illness, Spinal Cord Injury and Women’s Health

By Nicky Miller 

This week spotlights women’s health, Gulf War illness and spinal cord injury. To help raise awareness on these topics Kessler Foundation is sharing rehabilitation research information, news, and podcasts from its team of scientists in the field.

National Women’s Health Week
National Women’s Health Week is a reminder to encourage women to focus on their health and wellbeing. In the United States, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer that affect women’s health. At the Center for Mobility and Rehabilitation Engineering Research at Kessler Foundation, breast cancer studies are performed and state-of-the-art technology is used to find ways to improve treatment. Research scientist, Didier Allexandre, PhD, is conducting research on the structural and functional changes related to psychomotor impairment following chemotherapy in breast cancer patients. In line with prior work on the potential benefit and mechanism of mental imagery in rehabilitation, he is a co-investigator in a National Institute of Health grant, aimed at studying the benefit of high mental concentration/effort during physical exercise training in breast cancer patients with symptoms of weakness.

Allexandre’s podcast playlist on breast cancer: 

  • Topics in Breast Cancer Rehabilitation


Gulf War Illness Awareness Day
Gulf War illness is a growing cause that affects Gulf War Veterans, who often show symptoms of fatigue, headaches, joint pain, and more. At Kessler Foundation Glenn Wylie, DPhil, director of the Rocco Ortenzio Neuroimaging Center, is the leading investigator in cognitive fatigue, he has researched the neural correlates of fatigue in clinical samples such as multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, and veterans with Gulf War Illness.

Wylie’s recent study with other investigators involves research on Gulf War Veterans to study the effects of exercise. The research will determine if exercising worsens symptoms of Gulf War Illness.

Kessler Foundation research related to Gulf War Illness:

Fatigue in Gulf War Illness is associated with tonically high activation in the executive control network.

Wylie's podcast on Gulf War illness: 

  • Understanding Gulf War Illness


Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day
Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day, held on May 17th, helps to raise awareness about the effects of spinal cord injuries, treatment, and rehabilitation research. The Center for Spinal Cord Injury Research and the Center for Outcomes and Assessment Research at Kessler Foundation, under the leadership of Director Trevor Dyson-Hudson, MD and Chief Medical Officer, Steven Kirshblum, MD, include several laboratories dedicated to researching various aspects of spinal cord injury. One of the areas the Center has been studying for the last year is applying rehabilitation research to the area of regenerative medicine (“regenerative rehabilitation”). Researchers are investigating a new treatment using micro-fragmented adipose tissue (fat tissue) injection for chronic shoulder pain in wheelchair users with spinal cord injury and training a doctoral-level scholar for a career in regenerative rehabilitation.

Rotator cuff injuries are a common cause of pain and loss of function among manual wheelchair users with SCI. When pharmacological treatment and physical therapy fail to address the pain, rotator cuff surgery is often the only option. Injection with micro-fragmented adipose tissue is being tested as an alternative when conservative treatments fail. The procedure involves harvesting, processing (using the Lipogems® system), and injection of a sample of the person’s own fat into the shoulder joint under ultrasound guidance. Fat tissue provides cushioning and fills structural defects, and may deposit bioactive and regenerative elements in the damaged tissues. This pilot study is the first to examine the safety and efficacy of the injection of micro-fragmented adipose tissue for chronic shoulder pain in individuals with SCI.

Podcasts related to Spinal Cord Injury Research: 

  • Dr. Trevor Dyson-Hudson and Mary Shea discuss "Wheelchair Mobility: Lessons Learned & Future Directions"
  • Dr. Steven Kirshblum presents "Who Will Walk After Spinal Cord Injury"
  • Dr. Jeanne Zanca presents "Building Positive Working Relationships Between People with Spinal Cord Injury and Caregivers
  • Dr. Denise Fyffe presents "Exploring Racial/Ethnic Contextual Factors Associated with Functional Independence in Spinal Cord Injury"





Submitted by nmiller on Thu, 05/16/2019 - 09:04