Traumatic brain and spinal cord injury
Traumatic brain injury refers to a change in brain function due to an event after birth. While acquired brain injuries can be caused by a number of factors, traumatic brain injuries are specifically caused by an accident, fall, or blunt force to the head. Brain injury can affect a person’s cognitive, physical, emotional or independent functioning.
Spinal cord injuries are also most commonly caused by trauma including car crashes or sporting accidents, falls and blunt force to the spine. A spinal cord injury can cause paralysis from the neck or chest down, resulting in restricted mobility and feeling. For most people with a spinal injury, their spinal cord is still intact, but is damaged severely enough that it no long functions.
How The Florey is making a difference
The Florey was a lead partner in developing the Stentrode, in conjunction with the Royal Melbourne Hospital and University of Melbourne. The stentrode combines electrodes to record brain signals with a stent that sits in the blood vessel underlying the motor cortex. This will allow an exoskeleton or electronic reader to be controlled by a paralysed person, for example a spinal injury patient or someone with motor neurone disease.
Our scientists are also exploring molecules in preclinical studies to allow regrowing nerves to cross the so-called ‘glial scar’ that forms on the spinal cord after a sever spinal cord injury.
We are investigating the role of zinc and zinc-modifying drugs in reducing the damage after a traumatic brain injury as well as in normal ageing and Alzheimer’s disease.
For further information on traumatic brain injury visit Brain Injury Australia or find the phone number for your State’s brain injury assistance services .
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