Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Spinal cord processes information just as areas of brain do, research finds

Date:
March 23, 2011
Source:
Queen's University
Summary:
Recent research mapping the function and information processing of the spinal cord could improve treatment for spinal cord injuries.

Patrick Stroman is working to map the function and information processing of the spinal cord.
Credit: Image courtesy of Queen's University

Patrick Stroman's work mapping the function and information processing of the spinal cord could improve treatment for spinal cord injuries.

Related Articles


"Basic physiology books describe the spinal cord as a relay system, but it's part of the central nervous system and processes information just like parts of the brain do," explains Dr. Stroman, director of the Queen's MRI Facility and Canada Research Chair in Imaging Physics.

Dr. Stroman's research is directed at precisely mapping the areas above and below a spinal cord injury in order to better determine the precise nature of an injury and the effectiveness of subsequent treatment. When medical research has advanced to a point where clinicians are able to bridge an injury on a spinal cord, Dr. Stroman's spinal mapping technique will be key in accurately pinpointing the injury to be bridged.

The technique involves capturing multiple images of the spinal cord using a conventional MRI system. The image capturing is repeated every few seconds over several minutes. During the imaging temperature sensations on the skin are varied allowing areas of the spinal cord that respond to the temperature changes to be detected in the MRI.

During their research, Dr. Stroman's team was also surprised to discover that levels of attention impact information processing in the spinal cord. By examining the differences in spinal cord functioning in people who were either alert or distracted by a task they were able to see changes in the level of cord activity picked up by the MRI scanner.

"The effect of attention is one of the reasons that when you're playing sports and you get hurt, you often don't become aware of the injury until after the game when your attention and focus changes," says Dr. Stroman. "We already knew that a person's level of attention affects information processing in the brain, but this finding has made us aware that level of attention has to be properly controlled in research that aims to accurately map spinal cord function."

Dr. Stroman's spinal cord mapping research has important implications for those with spinal cord injuries who suffer from chronic pain. The research also applies to any conditions -- including multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, or congenital conditions -- where the function of the spinal cord is affected.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Queen's University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Queen's University. "Spinal cord processes information just as areas of brain do, research finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110322151308.htm>.
Queen's University. (2011, March 23). Spinal cord processes information just as areas of brain do, research finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110322151308.htm
Queen's University. "Spinal cord processes information just as areas of brain do, research finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110322151308.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) Need another reason to eat yogurt every day? Researchers now say it could reduce a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins