Spinal cord injury is a devastating condition that leaves people paralysed or wheelchair-bound. With funding from the Neurosciences Research Foundation, we have developed novel ways for managing patients with acute, severe spinal cord injuries to improve their long-term outcome. By inserting probes around the injured cord at the time of surgery, which is done soon after the injury, we can monitor the pressure and the metabolism of the swollen, injured cord. These techniques allow the treating doctors in the intensive care unit to intervene early to reduce the elevated spinal cord pressure and to improve the spinal cord metabolism so as to minimise further damage to the spinal cord.
Deep brain stimulation and radiofrequency lesioning for movement disorders and chronic pain and spinal cord stimulation for chronic pain are clinical treatments that enable electrical stimulation and electrophysiological recording of the human central nervous system. We use these invasive therapeutic tools combined with non-invasive physiological techniques, psychophysical methods and magnetic resonance imaging to further our fundamental understanding of how the brain and spine integrate sensation with movement, cognition and emotion towards innovative and improved neurosurgical treatments. Conditions studied include Parkinson’s disease, dystonia, isolated tremor, post-stroke pain, phantom limb pain, cervical myelopathy and spinal cord injury.
Mr T Jones, Dr F Howe, Dr T Barrick