Connecting to cure spinal cord injury


May 21 conference highlights connections between the science, ethics and politics of SCI research

ANN ARBOR, Mich. An estimated 247,000 people have a spinal cord injury in the United States and about 11,000 new cases occur each year, but a "cure" for this catastrophic injury remains elusive. Nevertheless, new science is raising the hope that one day a cure for SCI will be within reach.

To address controversial and misunderstood issues related to SCI cure research, the University of Michigan Health System's Model SCI Care System (part of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation), in partnership with the Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living and the Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America, will host the conference Connection to SCI Cure: The Science, Ethics and Politics of Spinal Cord Injury Research.

The conference begins at 9 a.m., Saturday, May 21, at the Marriott Hotel in Ypsilanti. The conference will include world-renowned experts from across the country and at the U-M who will discuss SCI care and research on the following topics:

  • Translating Research from the Laboratory to Clinical Trials, with Wise Young, M.D., Ph.D., director of the W.M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neurosciences at Rutgers University.

  • Participating in Cure Research: Point Counterpoint, with Jim Salem and Kassem Beydoun, both people with SCI who have opposing views on participating in experimental treatment for SCI.

  • Ethical and Legal Issues of Spinal Cord Injury Research, with Robyn Shapiro, J.D., director of the Center for the Study of Bioethics at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

  • Stem Cells the Science, Ethics and Politics, with Bernard Siegel, J.D., executive director for the Genetics Policy Institute, a sponsored project of the National Heritage Foundation; K. Sue O'Shea, Ph.D., U-M professor of Cell and Developmental Biology; Jose Cabelli, D.V.M., Ph.D., professor of Animal Biotechnology at Michigan State University; and David Prentice, Ph.D., senior fellow for the Life Sciences Family Research Council in Washington, D.C.

  • Exercising for Neuroplasticity: Practice Makes Perfect, with David Gater, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor and co-director of the U-M Model Care SCI System and Daniel Ferris, Ph.D., assistant professor in the U-M Neuromechanics Lab. Attendees will have several opportunities to participate in question-and-answer sessions with guest speakers and experts throughout the day.

To register online, visit Cost is $75 for physicians, $60 for professionals, $25 for families and $10 for others. Conference materials, continental breakfast, box lunch and refreshments are included.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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