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Background: Recent research has suggested that the brain may also undergo neurodegeneration after a spinal cord injury (SCI). Here, we evaluated neurodegeneration in the brain of patients with SCI and related neurodegeneration to rehabilitation performance, spine degeneration, and motor function.

Methods: T1-weighted and diffusion weighted images of 13 SCI patients and 13 healthy controls were obtained. We evaluated fractional anisotropy in the motor cortex (MC), the sulci in front of the MC, the posterior limb of the internal capsule (PLIC), and the cerebral peduncles (CP) in both hemispheres to determine neurodegeneration. Statistical analysis was performed between patients with SCI and healthy controls. A p-value

Results: In the MC and PLIC, we observed significant neurodegeneration in the side of the brain controlling the weakest side of the body in SCI patients (p

Conclusions: Our results suggest that SCI patients have neurodegeneration in the MC and PLIC in the side of the brain controlling the weakest side of the body. Future research will evaluate more regions of interest to help determine if white matter loss increases as it approaches the spinal cord. We are also evaluating how spinal cord neurodegeneration relates to our observed neurodegeneration in the brain.

Academic Level

medical student

Mentor/PI Department

Molecular Science

Available for download on Monday, June 24, 2024