PVA Research Foundation:
Your Donations at Work

Reprinted from PN March 2008

Via grants, contributions help scientists study major issues for people with spinal-cord injury/disease. Two of these "puzzles" are nerve regeneration and pain.

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Spinal-cord research has been an important mission of the Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) since the organization's founding in 1946. To fulfill this goal, Paralyzed Veterans established a research foundation in 1976; since then, the foundation has awarded more than $42 million of grants.

Sophia Chun, MD, (left) and Christine Sang, MD, MPH, were grant recipients in the area of pain treatment and management.
You may be asking yourself, What have we gotten for our money? Why is it taking so long to find "a cure"?

Part of the answer lies in what you define as "cure." While newly injured individuals might dream of walking again, as time goes by they may realize the secondary conditions of spinal-cord injury (SCI) are even more important to them: pressure ulcers, urinary tract infections, bowel and bladder management, pain, and upper-limb deterioration. All these factors affect quality of lifethe ability to function as independently as possible and be an active participant in work, family, and community life.

When people less familiar with SCI think of what an injury means, they generally envision a complete cut in the spinal cord that interferes with the impulses the brain sends out to control bodily functions. You might be thinking that reconnecting those nerves is akin to resetting a broken bone, albeit more complicated. But the reality is much more complex, requiring research at the microscopic, cellular/molecular level. In addition to a complete cut, many types of injuries result in paralysis; bruises, nicks, and compression of the spinal cord can result in paralysis as well. A C5 injury in one person may be experienced differently than the same injury in another individual.

A great deal of research, in the U.S. and around the world, has attempted to address these issues. This article's intent is to show what a small sample of PVA Research Foundation grantees have contributed to two major SCI issues: nerve regeneration and pain management.

Find out more about the grant recipients and also how you can make make a contribution directly to the PVA Research Foundation to support SCI research.


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PVA Research Foundation:
Your Donations at Work


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