UH study focuses on immunity, infection, exercise, and spinal cord injury patients

‘It ‘a little’ a mystery, because the injury is the central nervous system,’ said Thrasher. ‘This is the part of the body that controls the various muscles and organs We know that there is a paralysis. We know that there are limits to their mobility, but the immune system is one of the complications do not know exactly why it happens . The immune system simply does not do so when the central nervous system is damaged‘We exercise the upper body using a crank and a lower body exercise using functional electrical stimulation. A wheelchair will connect to a type of stationary bicycle. There electrically stimulates the muscles,’ he said.

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‘People who have suffered a similar injury have higher infection rates than the general population, especially in the urinary tract, lungs and gastrointestinal tract,’ Thrasher said. ‘They are very sensitive and also because their immune system is compromised, have a hard time fighting these infections.’

Mission Connect is a collaborative research project focused on Neurotrauma stop the progression of joint damage and restore lost functions in patients with spinal cord injuries suffered brain damage, either Mission Connect leads to the search for the power of collaboration, combining the most brilliant scientists and doctors in the region in an attempt to translate knowledge into a cure. The organization was founded by the Institute for Rehabilitation and Research Foundation in 1997.

There are several theories as to why exercise helps the immune system of a person is valid. The body may respond to exercise by releasing more antibodies and white blood cells, allowing them to find and fight diseases before they become a problem, or the reduction may help the body ward diseases. Although many theories exist for able-bodied population, there is little for people with spinal cord injuries.

Funded by a grant from Mission Connect of TIRR Foundation, Thrasher and Simpson will spend 12 months studying the immune systems of 30 patients before and after the exercise of functional electrical stimulation. Using the structures of the UH Center for neuromotor and biomechanical research at the Texas Medical Center and the Laboratory of Integrated Physiology UH, the study will examine 30 participants-10 with quadriplegia, paraplegia and 10 with 10 without spinal cord. Simpson, an immunologist, will examine blood samples from study participants before and after exercise to investigate the amount of immune cells.

‘Although long-term stress is harmful to our immune system, the release of stress hormones some day, like adrenaline, it is important to help maintain the normal functioning of the immune system and the continuous circulation of white blood cells’ Simpson said.

‘Patients with SCI are able to activate the adrenal glands that are responsible for the release of adrenaline, which may be one of the reasons that have lowered immunity and increased incidence of infections.’