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TIRR Memorial Hermann Investigators Evaluate SCI Outcomes Instruments in Children

2014 Winter Heather Taylor

Heather Taylor, Ph.D.

Heather Taylor, Ph.D., director of the Spinal Cord Injury and Disability Research Center at TIRR Memorial Hermann, and Glendaliz Bosques, M.D., pediatric rehabilitation consultant at the hospital, are co-principal investigators of a new study to evaluate spinal cord injury (SCI) outcomes instruments in pediatric patients. The multicenter study is funded by a grant from the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation.

Called “Pediatric Multicenter Evaluation of Notable SCI Outcomes Instruments,” the study is designed to establish the reliability of outcomes measures used routinely with adults who participate in SCI trials. “By determining the lowest age limit at which these outcome measures are reliable and valid, we hope to eliminate potential barriers that preclude the participation of children and youth in important clinical trials that may result in better outcomes for them,” says Dr. Taylor, director of spinal cord injury and disability research at TIRR Memorial Hermann and an adjunct assistant professor in the department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. “Once we establish the validity of these instruments in children and adolescents, there is greater likelihood that they will be included in spinal cord injury trials."

Glendaliz Bosques, M.D.

Glendaliz Bosques, M.D.

Four outcomes instruments shown to be robust in adults will be studied in the pediatric trial: the Spinal Cord Injury Independence Measure (SCIM), Walking Index for Spinal Cord injury Second Version (WISCI-II), Graded Redefined Assessment of Sensation and Prehension (GRASSP) and Capabilities of the Upper Extremity Questionnaire and Test (CUE-Q and CUE-T).

National principal investigator of the trial is M. J. Mulcahey, Ph.D., OTR/L, professor of occupational therapy at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, the lead site for the trial. Dr. Mulcahey is president-elect of the American Spinal Injury Association. “We were pleased to be invited to participate with such a stellar multicenter team,” Dr. Taylor says.

The three-year study began in January across six sites. Eligible participants include individuals with SCI from birth to age 17.

For more information about the trial or to refer a patient for enrollment, call Michelle Feltz, research collaborator at TIRR Memorial Hermann and coordinator of enrollment, at 713.797.5981 or Kristine Higgins, PT, researcher and study assessor, at (713) 383-5663 .

Symposium on Wellness and Independence After Spinal Cord Injury

Lex Frieden

Lex Frieden

Eighty therapists, nurses and case managers attended the TIRR Memorial Hermann 2014 Spinal Cord Injury Symposium entitled “Advancing Wellness and Independence After Spinal Cord Injury,” held June 6-8 at the hospital in Houston. The interdisciplinary conference focused on best practices for people with spinal cord injury throughout the continuum of care in a variety of practice settings.

Sessions included discussions of expected outcomes after SCI, autonomic dysreflexia and postural hypotension, neurogenic bowel and bladder, positioning considerations, management of dysphagia, bed mobility and transfers, promoting skin integrity, pressure relief techniques, the role of neuropsychology in cognitive screening, bone health, functional breathing, funding reimbursement, pulmonary and respiratory health, management of spasticity and pain, special considerations for hospital discharge, management of secondary complications, emerging treatment paradigms for upper-extremity recovery, the medical home model and more.

Keynote speakers were Lex Frieden, director of TIRR Memorial Hermann’s Independent Living Research Utilization (ILRU) program, and William H. Donovan, M.D., former medical director at TIRR Memorial Hermann and former chair of the department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at McGovern Medical School.