Hospital Awarded Grant from Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation
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  • will fund research in osteoporosis and spinal cord injury

    Helen Hayes Hospital in West Haverstraw has announced that it is the recipient of a  two-year $150,000 grant from the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation (CRPF). The grant will fund a research study on the prevention of bone loss in recent spinal cord injury. Felicia Cosman, M.D., medical director of the hospital’s Clinical Research Center, will be the principal investigator.

    Bone loss in individuals with spinal cord injury is extremely common, primarily due to immobilization The bone loss is most prominent in the hips and lower extremities and often leads to osteoporosis and fractures. The majority of bone loss occurs in the first year after injury, with cumulative bone loss approaching 30 – 50% in the lower extremities after many years. Osteoporotic fractures can further limit mobility in individuals with spinal cord injury, and lead to worsening spasticity and contractures. Currently, there are no approved medications for treatment or prevention of bone loss in individuals with spinal cord injury.

    This study will seek to determine whether a potent intravenous bisphosphonate is effective in preventing spinal cord injury induced bone loss. Prevention would likely translate into a reduction in the risk of fracture and may become standard treatment for all spinal cord injury patients soon after injury.

    Approximately 64 patients aged 20 and over who are admitted to Helen Hayes Hospital with recent spinal cord injury will be recruited to participate. Baseline bone density tests will be performed prior to the study medication being given once via IV insertion. Follow-up bone density and bone turn-over measurements will be taken three, six and twelve months post-injury.

    “We are hopeful that this research project will lead to new treatment options for the prevention of osteoporosis in individuals with spinal cord injury,” states Dr. Cosman. “If we are successful, it will enhance a patient’s rehabilitation program and better enable them to go on to lead a healthy life following injury.”

    The author of “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Osteoporosis,” Dr. Cosman is world renowned for her work in the prevention, causes and treatments of osteoporosis. She is the recipient of grants from the National Institutes of Health, National Multiple Sclerosis Society and multiple pharmaceutical companies. Dr. Cosman is the clinical director of the National Osteoporosis Foundation, is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and is an Associate Attending Physician at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.

    Helen Hayes Hospital is internationally acclaimed as a leader in the field of osteoporosis research. The hospital is also one of the nation’s leading center’s for rehabilitation following spinal cord injury.

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