and bladder functions are compromised, often leading to pain, pressure sores, infection, and diminished physiological well-being.

After carefully considering input from individuals with spinal cord injuries, researchers, and clinicians, the committee decided to take a broad approach to “defining a cure” and to frame its definition around alleviating the multiple disabilities that result from spinal cord injury.

Spinal cord injury research should focus on preventing the loss of function and on restoring lost functions—including sensory, motor, bowel, bladder, autonomic, and sexual functions—with the elimination of complications, particularly pain, spasticity, pressure sores (decubitus ulcers), and depression, with the ultimate goal of fully restoring the activity and function of an individual to his or her preinjury levels.

By setting forth a set of goals for spinal cord injury research, the committee wishes to emphasize the different stages of the injury during which interventions are needed and the multiple health impairments that affect an individual’s daily quality of life and that require the development of effective therapeutic interventions (Figure 1-1).

FIGURE 1-1 Outcomes of spinal cord injuries.

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