Research Studies

Spinal Cord Injury Database for Research Purposes


It is estimated that the annual incidence of spinal cord injury in the United States is 40 cases per million, or 12,000 new cases per year. As of June of 2006, approximately 253,000 individuals were living with spinal cord injury in the United States. The number of people living with SCI has increased over the past several years due more specialized treatment, especially at the accident scene. This increase in the rate of survival from spinal cord injury means that there will be an increasing number of patients in need of effective treatment to help them attain a satisfactory long-term life adjustment and quality of life following their injury. The size and severity of this population argues for the importance of determining the most effective treatment and rehabilitation practices.

Although information regarding the natural course of spinal cord injury has improved over the past several years, much remains to be learned about the most effective acute care and rehabilitation treatments and long term patient outcomes.

Purpose of the Study:

There are two main purposes for this study:

  1. To identify subjects who might be candidates for future spinal cord injury assessment or treatment research studies.
  2. To improve the quality of our treatment programs by helping us assess the natural course of spinal cord injury and trends that might occur in outcomes as treatment approaches change over time.


This is a minimal risk, data collection study. Candidates that have asked to participate in this database have a diagnosis of spinal cord injury or spinal cord disease and have been admitted to the spinal cord injury unit or the outpatient clinic at UM Rehabilitation & Orthopaedic Institute.

Data will include patients' demographics, date of injury, type of injury, seriousness of the injury, the extent of disability caused by the injury and the treatments used. The data will be collected during the patients' rehabilitation stay at UM Rehabilitation & Orthopaedic Institute as well as at their routine follow up visits in the outpatient clinic. Various rehabilitation endpoints will be assessed including length of stay, level of functional independence at discharge, place of discharge and changes made over the course of rehabilitation. We would like to use this data to evaluate the effectiveness of current treatment strategies for spinal cord injured individuals, as well as for programmatic quality. This data will also be used to identify various facts such as injury characteristics and their association with rehabilitation outcomes. There will be up to 750 subjects whose information will be included in this database.

For more information please contact the the Rehabilitation Research Center at UM Rehabilitation & Orthopaedic Institute by email: