Longevity After Injury Project
Historic Gathering of 40 and 50 year SCI Survivors
On June 7, 2015, the spinal cord injury (SCI) research team from the Medical University of South Carolina, under the leadership of Dr. James Krause, held a historic celebration in Nicollet Island Pavilion in downtown Minneapolis. The event brought together study participants and guests, including 10 SCI survivors who are more than 50 years post-injury. The event commemorated 40 years of research, initiated by Dr. Nancy Crewe, at the University of Minnesota in 1973.
Former President of the National SCI Association, John Schatzlein, received the Career Contributions Award. Barbara Armour was presented with the Longevity after Injury Award, having reached 58 years since the onset of her SCI. The collective accomplishments of the participants are amazing. There have been 2200+ participants since the study’s inception in 1973 and they have collectively worked for over 12,500 years, logging more than 22,000,000 hours of gainful employment.
The event was a reminder of the magnitude of accomplishments by so many people with SCI. Larry Kegan was a boyhood friend of Bob Dylan and played on stage with him. Other individuals have written books, including Robert Peters (A Dive Too Deep), Dr. James Boen (The World’s Oldest Living Quadriplegic), and Mike Patrick (I Still Believe in Tomorrow). Darcy Pohland was a television reporter for a local news station.
When the study was initiated in 1973, living 40 years with SCI was viewed as unattainable, yet there were 26 people at the event to have lived more than 40 years with SCI. Those attending were proud of their involvement with research since knowledge gained from their participation has helped us to better understand SCI and the changes that occur as people age with SCI.
If someone wonders what they can do after SCI, they need only to look to what this group of people has done. They have lived and participated in their communities, been in long-term relationships, and worked to better their lives and the lives of others. All has been accomplished despite the harsh health consequences of SCI and aging, and the barriers to marriage and employment that often come with needing financial assistance for the high cost of SCI.
Together, we have worked to facilitate accessible environments, promote employment, and advocate for policies that create opportunities. We look forward to the next generation of people with SCI building upon these accomplishments and with hope for anyone with SCI that they have the opportunity to live long, healthy, and fulfilling lives.
On Tuesday, June 23th, Dr. Edelle Field-Fote, Director of Spinal Cord Injury Research Program & Hulse Research Laboratory, Shepherd Center, presented on “ReActivite, Rewire, Restore: Challenging the Nervous System to Optimize Function after SCI." --Slides--
On May 2015, Drs. Lee Saunders attended the 4th ISCoS and ASIA Joint Scientific Meeting in Montreal, Canada. She present on "Prevalence of Cigarette Smoking and Attempts to Quit in a Population-based Cohort with Spinal Cord Injury".
On Thursday, April 12th , Dr. James Krause, Director of the Center for Rehabilitation Research in Neurological Conditions, Medical University of South Carolina, presented on “Successful Employment and Quality Work Life After MS: A Qualitative Study." For further details please visit our other website - Beyond 90 Days
We have lost two good friends and colleagues.
It is with great sadness that we report the loss of Sarah Lottes, who was the original research assistant on our SCI team dating back to 1993, and Dr. David Gray, one of the great leaders in the field of disability and a contributor to our Beyond 90 Days program. --More about Sara Lottes-- & --More about David Gray-- On May 5, 2013 at Chicago, Illinois, David Gray spoke at the 39th Annual Pre-Course Meeting titled "The State of the Science of Prevention and Management of Secondary Health Conditions in Person after SCI". To hear his presentation, please click --Video--
Dr. Krause has been invited to present at the annual conference of the Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals in New Orleans on September 2015. This is a great honor since the Essie Morgan Lecture is an invited lectureship awareded to persons who have made significant contributions to the advancement of social services for persons with spinal cord injury.
Our Health Outcome Research for Underserved People with SCI Project has created a factsheet with information pertaining to African Americans with SCI. The factsheet illustrates the relationship between preventative behaviors and secondary health conditions. It also mentions risk behaviors and chronic diseases common among African Americans with SCI. Please visit the Health Outcome Research for Underserved People with SCI webpage underneath "Funded Projects" on the left side of this page.
July is National Disability Awareness Month. Below are a few research bytes from our findings.
- Self-reported surveys were administered to 919 adults with impairment from traumatic SCI of at least 1- year duration, who reported at least one painful condition and were taking prescription medication to treat pain. The objective was to identify the predictors of pain medication misuse (PMM) among participants with spinal cord injury (SCI). The average PMQ score was 19.7, with 25.8% of participants scoring at or above the cutoff of 25, which is indicative of PMM. A three-stage logistic regression analysis was conducted by sequentially adding three sets of predictors to the equation: (1) demographic and injury characteristics; (2) pain characteristics and (3) frequency of pain medication use. Age and education level were protective of PMM, whereas pain intensity, pain interference and pain medication use were risk factors. Number of painful days was not significant in the final model. (Krause, Clark, & Saunders, 2015)
- A qualitative approach was used with 6 focus groups at 2 sites (Minnesota and Georgia). To identify the employment outcomes of greatest importance as defined by those with SCI who have worked since injury. Seven overlapping themes were identified under the 2 broad categories of compensation and subjective well-being: (1) salary and what it can support, (2) health insurance and other fringe benefits, (3) promotions and recognition, (4) social connection and support, (5) job satisfaction and enjoyment from working, (6) making a difference and helping others, and (7) psychological and emotional health. (Meade, Reed, Saunders, & Krause, 2015)