Studies on Spinal Cord Injury

Participation in Research Therapies for Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury
Available in Gainsville, FL

Have you or someone you know had a spinal cord injury that has affected your ability to walk?

The Department of Veterans Affairs Brain Rehabilitation Research Center is conducting a spinal cord injury-related treatment study that needs participants.

If you have an incomplete motor spinal cord injury and were injured more than 1 year ago, you may qualify for this study.

The study requires participation in breathing and/or walking treatments for research purposes. There is no charge to take part in the study and monetary assistance is available to help with travel and lodging. To find out if you or someone you know may be eligible, please call:

The Brain Rehabilitation Research Center in Gainesville: 352-376-1611, ext. 5110 or 800-324-8387, ext. 5110.

Spinal Cord Injury Research Protocols

A listing of studies currently being offered at the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond, VA.

Queen's University Sport Participation Study

Volunteers are needed for a study for sport participation after acquiring a disability in adulthood. We are interested in learning how athletic identity and other factors influence the amount of sport participation individuals get after they experience a disabling injury/illness. Your participation would involve completing two short questionnaires (20 minutes and 5 minutes) either by phone or through an online survey ( As a token of appreciation, we are offering a $5 Starbucks card after each interview. If you would like further information, please feel free to contact MJ at or by phone at 613-331-2819.

Robotic SCI Rehab Study

This study is conducted at the Burke Medical Research Institute, an affiliate of Weill Cornell Medical College - New York Presbyterian Hospital, and is led by Dr. Dylan Edwards. We are researching mechanisms of motor recovery in individuals with chronic loss of function in the upper limb after Spinal Cord Injury. In addition, we are implementing a robotic motor training technique that incorporates Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), a non-invasive brain stimulation, to improve arm muscle strength and function. We hope to determine which characteristics may lead to successful implementation of this novel technique and which muscles are most responsive to this treatment.

Dr. Edwards and his team are currently seeking individuals ages 16-80 years old who have experienced a Spinal Cord Injury at least 1 year, which has resulted in the presence of some degree of weakness in the arm and forearm. Individuals who wish to participate should be able to sit upright for at least 1 hour, be cognitively and behaviorally capable of complying with the study regimen, and should not have a neurological disorder, be medically unstable, or have severely limited range of joint motion or irreversible muscle contractures in the upper limb. Lastly, because of the use of TMS, interested individuals may not have any implanted metal devices (i.e. intra-cerebral vascular clip), a cardiac pacemaker, past history of seizures, or a history of medication-resistant epilepsy in the family. To learn more about the study please visit:

Physical & Emotional
Symptoms after Spinal Cord Injury

The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago is currently conducting a research study that looks at physical and emotional symptoms after spinal cord injury. About one in five people with spinal cord injury (SCI) report problems with sleep, poor energy, low mood, loss of interest in things they used to enjoy, or changes in appetite. Some of these changes in basic biological functions may be attributed to the direct effects of SCI on life. On the other hand, we also suspect that the stress of experiencing and living with SCI may cause changes in brain chemicals that regulate these bodily functions, magnifying the negative effects of SCI. We are doing this study because throughout the US, medications are used thousands of times each day by people with SCI to treat some of these symptoms. Yet there is not a single well-designed study that proves how effective and well-tolerated these medications are in people with SCI.

If you are interested in participating in this study, you may contact the researchers using the information provided at the end of this article. The initial screening for the study can be done in a phone call that will take about 15 minutes, and after you complete this phone interview, we will send you $10 in cash by mail. In this 15-minute screening, you will be asked about your current symptoms and about other medical and psychological symptoms you may have had in the past. Any information you share is confidential and you may refuse to answer any question.

This 15-minute screening is being done to see if you would qualify for a larger study that examines how well Venlafaxine XR (more commonly known as Effexor XR) works on people who have had a spinal cord injury. If you qualify for this larger study, a researcher will contact you to discuss participation in the twelve-week study. Agreeing to participate in the 15-minute screening does not mean you agree to the larger study.

If you have had a spinal cord injury for one month or more and are 18 years or older, you may be eligible for the 15-minute screening interview. If you would like to participate, you may contact research staff at (312)-238-8165, or toll free at 1-888-264-0843 Monday through Friday from 9:00AM -5:00 PM, or send an email to

A Study of Stress and Mood
in People with Spinal Cord Injury

A University of Michigan study on depression and SCI regarding factors that influence whether people become depressed after their injury.

Wheels in Motion:

Mobility's relationship with physical activity and psychosocial factors in people with SCI.

Mental Practice and Recovery of Walking

Researchers at The University of Cincinnati and Drake Rehabilitation Center are looking for individuals who have experienced a loss or a compromise in walking from a spinal cord injury.

We are conducting a research study that tests the effects of two types of therapies for walking after spinal cord injury.

We are looking for people who:

What to expect:

Your confidentiality will be completely respected, and if the findings from the research study are published, you will not be identified by name. You may, at any time, discontinue your participation.

If you are interested in participating in this study or would like more information, please contact:

Steve Page, Ph.D.

To learn more, visit us at:

Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Chronic Pain Study

If you experience chronic nerve pain a year or more following a SCI you may be eligibe to participate in a 5-month clinical study sponsored by Pfizer of an investigational medication. The goal of the study is to evaluate the effectiveness of the study medication in relieving chronic nerve pain associated with SCI. Participants may receive study-related physical and neurological examinations, electrocardiograms, and laboratory tests at no cost, plus compensation for their time.

Transportation will be provided, or travel costs will be reimbursed. Most important, your participation may help others by contributing to research that may lead to improved treatments.

For further information, visit or call Inclinix at (888) 898-7425 ext. 2072.

Troubled By Spasticity
Due To Spinal Cord Injury?

Do you suffer from spasticity (muscle jerking, spasm or increased muscle tone) due to spinal cord injury? If you do, you should know about this clinical research study. Spasticity due to spinal cord injury can cause symptoms such as stiffness of arms and legs, atrophy (breakdown of the muscles), fibrosis (thickening and scarring of tissue) and contracting of muscles, including difficulty moving the arms and legs.

If you are unhappy with your current anti-spasticity therapy or are not currently on anti-spasticity medication, call to learn more about this clinical study. Eligible participants will receive study-related examinations and investigational medication at no cost. Participants will also be compensated for time and travel.

Call now to learn more about this clinical research study for people with spasticity due to spinal cord injury.

Contact the Study Coordinator in your region:
Gilroy, California 408-842-9296
Kansas City, Kansas 913-381-5225 ex 354
Pasadena, California 626-403-1444 ex 104

Kids Step Study

This clinical trial takes place at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida and at Brooks Rehabilitation in Jacksonville, Florida, where we use locomotor training to investigate the recovery of walking in children with incomplete spinal cord injury. The study is directed by Dr. Andrea Behrman, PhD, PT and funded by the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation

Study of Blood Sugar Control

The Reeve-Irvine Research Center is conducting 2 studies to determine more details about how spinal cord injury damages the ability to control sugar levels in the blood.

Study #1:

Study #2:

For more information, contact Dr. Kim Anderson at 949-824-0056 or

Living with a Spinal Cord Injury

Reeve-Irvine Research Center
University of California, Irvine

Are you between the ages of 18-29 or over age 60? Have you lived with a spinal cord injury for at least 5 years? If so, we would like to invite you to participate in a study being conducted at the University of California, Irvine. The purpose of the study is to examine physical and emotional well-being among people with a spinal cord injury. We have already interviewed people between the ages of 30-59, but we need your help to make sure that all adult age groups are represented in the study. If you choose to participate, you will be asked to complete a series of over-the-phone interviews. You will be compensated $150.00 for completion of the study. If you are interested in participating or have any questions, please call the emotion research laboratory at: (949) 824-3991 or email us at

Wheelchair Research Study

The University of Hartford physical therapy department has received approval from the human subjects committee to conduct a research study examining the effects of training consumers on the use of power wheelchair tilt systems. We are looking for your assistance in recruiting subjects 16 years old or older who may be appropriate for our study.

Participants need to have a power wheelchair with a power tilt system and use their wheelchairs for a minimum of four hours per day. They should not have had any pressure sores or wounds on the buttocks in the last 6 months. Participation will require two weeks during which time they will be provided with a tilt monitoring device to record their daily utilization of their power tilt system. Graduate students from the physical therapy department will meet with participating subjects to install the monitoring device and provide training at the subject's convenience and location.

The research study is being chaired by Dr. Barbara Crane who is a full time faculty member of the University of Hartford department of physical therapy. Included is a copy of the recruitment flyer. We would appreciate your assistance in circulating these flyers to any individuals whom you feel may qualify for this study. Please contact us for additional information, any questions your candidates may have, or for supplementary flyers.

Candidates who may be interested in this project may contact Dr. Barbara Crane, Project Directory at the University of Hartford @ 860-768-5371 or by e-mail: We appreciate your time and kind assistance in helping us with this recruitment effort.

Mothers raising kids and living with a SCI

Participants needed for study

Being a mother is an important role for many women, yet relatively little is known about mothering with a SCI, from the perspective of the mother. This study focuses on the experience of mothers with SCI and explores their participation in parental activities, satisfaction with this involvement and sense of well-being. In addition, the influence of social support and perceived health will be examined. Mothers actively parenting a child or children ages 12 and younger can participate in this study. Women will be mailed a set of four questionnaires, some background questions and a self-addressed stamped envelope. This should take approximately 45 minutes to complete (or she may be interviewed by phone). The confidentiality of all participants will be maintained. If interested in participating in this study or if you have questions, please contact Ruth Farber, PhD, OTR/L (Temple University, Department of Occupational Therapy) at or Michelle Sonabend, OTR/L 215-901-6175.


The VA Brain Rehab Research Center in Gainesville, FL is currently seeking persons with incomplete spinal cord injury to take part in a training study for walking. This study is comparing two ways to train and practice walking: 1) with hands on assistance and 2) using a robot to assist. Both ways use a treadmill and overhead support system with a harness to aid the training.

To qualify:

If interested in learning more about the study and finding out if you qualify, please contact Sarah Stickles, PT at 1-800-324-8387, ext. 4725 or

Research funded by VA Rehabilitation Research and Development

Health Status, Age, and Emotion Regulation among People with a Spinal Cord Injury

Help us learn about living with a spinal cord injury!

Are you at least 18 years-old and have you lived with a spinal cord injury for at least 5 years? If so, we would like to invite you to participate in a study being conducted at the University of California, Irvine. The purpose of the study is to examine physical and affective well-being among people with a spinal cord injury. If you choose to participate, you will be asked to complete a series of over-the-phone interviews. You will be compensated $150.00 for completion of the study. If you are interested in participating or have any questions, please call the emotion research laboratory at: (949) 824-3991 or email Jennifer at

Are You a Woman with a Spinal Cord Injury Who Has Been Injured for at Least One Year?

If so, you have important information that could greatly benefit other women with spinal cord injuries in similar situations.

This is a request for women with SCI (aged 18 or older) who are both employed and unemployed to participate in an on-line research project.

Need: Research on the return to work experiences of women with SCI is close to nonexistent. Increasing the understanding of what it is like to be a woman with a SCI who has either returned to work, attempted to return to work, or would like to return to work will offer very valuable insight into understanding the most effective approaches to helping women return to work.

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to gain an increased understanding of the return to work experiences of women with SCI as well as issues or barriers associated with the ability or inability to return to work. Factors that influence quality of life and job satisfaction will also be investigated.

About the researcher: Elizabeth Lasher is a doctoral student in the department of Counselor Education, Counseling Psychology, and Rehabilitation Education at The Pennsylvania State University. She has a special interest in working with women with spinal cord injuries for a number of years. Before returning to school to pursue a doctoral degree, she worked as a rehabilitation counselor for ten years on a spinal cord injury unit at a rehabilitation hospital in Pittsburgh, PA.

If you are interested in participating in this on-line study, or would like to read more about it, please go to the following link, which will take you to a secure website;

On-Line, Self-Study Forgiveness Intervention

A Comparable Intervention in Decreasing Negative Emotions and Increasing Quality of Life in People with Spinal Cord Injury.

This study is an experimental design. Participants will be randomly assigned to one of two interventions and participants will be able to complete the interventions at their given geographical locations. In short, selected participants will be asked to complete some initial assessments, participate in an 8-week intervention followed up by a series of post-tests. The study will primarily require approximately 3 months to complete, excluding a 2 month follow-up assessment. Total time required of participants will be 5 months due to the 2 month follow-up assessment.

Participants I am interesting in recruiting for this study are persons with spinal cord injury who meet the following eligibility criteria:

  1. Have lived with a spinal cord injury for at least one year;
  2. Are between the ages of 18 and 55;
  3. Might feel that your injury was "unfair" or "unjust" regardless of the cause or attributing factor;
  4. Would be interested in working on forgiveness;
  5. Do not currently drink over three drinks per day or use illegal substances.

If interested please contact:

Susan Stuntzner MS, CRC, NCC
Rehabilitation Psychology Doctoral Candidate
University of Wisconsin - Madison
432 N. Murray Street, Room 405
Madison, WI 53706

The Effect of FES on Children with Spinal Cord Dysfunction

Children's Specialized Hospital in Mountainside, NJ is recruiting children and young adults (ages 5-21) with spinal cord injuries to participate in a clinical study. The study is being conducted to see if these patients will be helped by a functional electrical stimulation (FES) bicycle exercise program (The bike is an FDA approved device). It is known that children who are unable to walk because of spinal cord damage experience loss of muscle mass and bone mineral density over time, which puts them at risk for bone fractures. Through this exercise program, we are hoping to see an improvement in muscle mass and bone mineral density, increased cardiovascular endurance, and increased sense of self-esteem and psychological well-being.

In order to determine eligibility for this study, participants will be given a medical evaluation which includes a physical exam, basic laboratory evaluation, x-rays of the legs, and a special scan to determine bone mineral density. Once accepted into the study, participants will undergo 9 months (3 sessions per week/up to 30-min sessions) of FES cycling exercise. Participants will be able to read, watch television, etc during the bike sessions.

This study involves no cost to participants. If you are interested in signing up for an evaluation or would like to learn more about the study, please contact Stefanie at 908-389-5638 or email

Health Interventions for Survivors and Primary Support Persons of Spinal Cord Injury

Study Description: It is now common for individuals with spinal cord injury and disability (SCI/D) to have life expectancies similar to those of non-injured persons.

As people with SCI/D grow older, they face unique challenges in adapting to aging. Those who provide support for the SCI/D survivor also face difficult life challenges. The purpose of this research study is to develop and evaluate new ways of assisting middle-aged and older persons living with the long-term effects of SCI/D.

This research study is supported by the National Institutes of Health and will be carried out in two locations: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Miami, Florida. Approximately 250 persons with spinal cord injury, as well as those that provide SCI/D survivors with primary support, will be enrolled into the study. Those who agree to participate will be assigned to one of several intervention groups. The duration of intervention for all groups will be six months.

Depending upon group assignment, the health interventions provided by the study will include: information and education on aging and SCI/D; focused training on managing physical and emotional health issues related to living with chronic disability, training in communication skills, and opportunities for peer and professional support and advice. All participants will receive a risk assessment addressing physical and emotional well-being, safety, and social support.

In addition to participating in an intervention group, all participants will complete three assessments to be carried out by a trained interviewer. The first assessment will take place before the intervention begins, the second will take place 6 months later when the intervention is completed, and the third assessment will take place 12 months after the initial assessment. Participants will receive $25 for each completed assessment. By comparing the assessments across intervention groups, we will be able to determine which intervention is most effective in helping caregivers and their care recipients.

If you are interested in participating in this study, or would like more information, please contact Trinidad Argüelles, SCI/D Senior Research Associate, at (305) 355-9053.

Functional Electrical Stimulation Induced Bicycling in Chronic Spinal Cord Injury

Researchers at The Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at The University of Cincinnati are looking for individuals who have experienced a compromise in the function of their legs as a result of a spinal cord injury. We are conducting a study that tests the effects of functional electrical stimulation on walking and balance.

We are looking for people who:

What to expect:

Your confidentiality will be completely respected, and if the findings from the study are published, you will not be identified by name. You may, at any time, discontinue your participation.

If you are interested in participating in this study or would like more information, please contact:

Steve Page, Ph.D.
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation,
University of Cincinnati 

STUDY (Syracuse, NY)

Rehabilitation After Spinal Cord Injury: Which Method Is Better for Improving Walking and Balance?

This NIH funded study tests methods that may improve walking in people with incomplete spinal cord injury. The study compares the "body weight support (BWS)" method of training on a treadmill, versus BWS training on a track, versus comprehensive physical therapy. Subjects are randomly assigned to one of these three training groups, and train three times a week for an hour each session, for a total of thirteen weeks.

The total commitment for each subject will be about fourteen weeks, because of some pre- and post-testing that is necessary, and will all take place in the lab at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY. Blair Calancie, PhD, is the principal investigator, and began the study three years ago under "The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis," at the University of Miami School of Medicine.

Participation is open to men and women 16-70 years old, with a traumatic, incomplete spinal cord injury at the T10 level or above, from greater than one year previously. Subjects must have some voluntary movement in one leg. For more information, please call Rosemary Merola at (315) 464-9943, or send and e-mail to