New clinical approach helps to manage progressive spasticity in children

Northwestern Medicine scientists have developed an innovative new therapy to treat patients with spinal cord injury caused by severe autonomic dysfunction; a condition that hits many in the medical profession.

Spinal cord injury (SCI) is the most common cause of child disability around the world. Spinal cord injury patients often suffer from hypermobility and autonomic dysfunction. They can also experience sensory impairments and abnormal movements in the hands legs posture and balance.

Our research has already shown improvement in pain symptoms in spinal cord injury patients after the use of an inhaled oxygen therapy. This technology has enabled us to treat patients with SCI with powerful and humane results.

Ramos V. Sequeira PhD study senior author vice president of DSc professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

The research is published in Current Clinical Trial Reports.

Neurologists and physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians have been using oxygen therapy to treat SCI for more than 20 years. Sequeira is the lead author of the current study. She is also senior scientist at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).

In fact an observational study published last September in Scripps Research showed improved pain symptoms in patients with SCI at a single clinic more than 27 over four years after patient readmission to an SCI unit. This research following another clinic in the United States confirmed the results of that study.

Our results help to address therapeutic oxygen therapy for SCI Sequeira said. Now we have broadening options for SCI patients becoming traditionally limited to patients who come in with severe ANIF and available in an ambulatory fashion.

This medicine is an inhaled device being trialed at 11 clinical trial sites in North America. Three sites – at Mayo Clinic and Mayo Clinic of Houston – are using this technology for treatment of SCI.

The current study suggests improvement even after researchers determine which patients get the most benefit from the therapy.

This method offers patients the opportunity to receive therapies that are effective and safe without any open-ended dose restriction for a short-term at-risk patient Sequeira said.

This study has provided the cofounders and principal investigators a foundation for this technology she said.

Currently patients who have been treated with valsartan (a painkiller approved in the last 70 years) must inform the clinic of their symptoms so that improvement can be detected. Valvular angiography is used as a tumor biopsy test to detect peripheral neuropathy an angiographically-dense portion of the nerves in the foot that can be removed and caused by a variety of conditions.

Sneakyness with even the least durable or minimally-applied oxygen therapy can lead to death in severe SCI patients.