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Longevity After Injury Project

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National Brain Injury Awareness Month

In recognition of National Brain Injury Awareness Month, a few facts from our studies are provided below:

In the United States (US), about 20% of persons with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) are African American, and about 25% of persons with a Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) are African American. These numbers are large when considering only 13.1% of the US population is African American.

Research has shown people with an SCI or TBI are more likely to have health complications (known as secondary health conditions), such as respiratory complications, pressure sores, and urinary tract infections.


The graph above shows that African Americans with SCI or TBI were more likely to participate in protective behaviors related to secondary conditions, like getting a vaccine to prevent respiratory complications. However, African Americans were less likely to engage in protective behaviors not related to secondary conditions, like getting cholesterol checked to identify their risk of heart disease.

Smoking cigarettes increases your chance of getting cancer in your lungs. Drinking too much alcohol on many occasions can cause negative health effects in several organs in the body. Both of these risk behaviors can lead to negative, long-term health complications and eventually death.


As seen in the graphs above, compared to the general population, both African Americans with SCI and African Americans with TBI were more likely to engage in risk behaviors, such as smoking and consuming alcohol. However, those with TBI had the highest likelihood of engaging in these risk behaviors, which may put them at risk for health complications.

In regards to chronic diseases, African Americans with SCI are about 2.5 times more likely to report having had a stroke compared to the general African American population.  African Americans with TBI are about 6.5 times more likely to report having had a stroke.  African Americans with TBI are about 3 times more likely to report having been told by a healthcare provider that they have coronary heart disease.  African Americans with TBI are about 2 times more likely to report having been told by a healthcare provider that they have hypertension.

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--

Our Name has Changed!

Our research program has been expanded beyond longevity after injury to include a wider array of outcomes and types of disabling conditions. Therefore, the Longevity after Injury Project is now one of two arms of a larger program of research, entitled Health, Employment, and Longevity Project for people with disabling conditions. Whereas the longevity after injury project focuses on health and longevity, the second arm of our research program focuses on employment and is entitled Beyond 90 Days: Successful Employment after Disability. The overall project, as well as each of the two arms, consider disability throughout the entire lifecycle. You may find information on the Health, Employment, and Longevity Project on our website (, as well as each of the two components ( and


Check out our accomplishments.

Grand Rounds
On Wednesday, January 28th , Dr. Aiko Thompson, Assistant Professor of the Department of Health Sciences and Research, Medical University of South Carolina, presented on “Changing Muscle Evoked Responses to Improve Locomotion after Spinal Cord Injury." Visit our Events page to see a recorded video of the presentation and print out of her powerpoint slides.

Student Achievements
Dr. Nicole Dipiro, a graduate assistant since 2012, was successful in defending her dissertation project entitled "Effects of Aerobic Exercise Training on Walking and Health-Related Outcomes in Individuals with Chronic Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury". 

Upcoming Presentations

On May 2015, Drs. James Krause and Lee Saunders will present five topics at the 4th ISCoS and ASIA Joint Scientific Meeting in Montreal, Canada. 

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.

On Thursday, November20th , Dr. Lee Saunders, Research Assistant Professor of the College of Health Professions, Medical University of South Carolina, presented on “Healthcare Access and Utilization after Spinal Cord Injury."


Purpose from MUSC CHP on Vimeo.

Fact Sheet

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.

Research Bytes

March is National Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness Month. Below is a research byte from our findings.

  • A cross-sectional cohort study was developed to investigate a mediational model where pain (intensity and interference) and fatigue mediate the relationship between the use of mobility aids and moderate-to-severe depressive symptomatology among ambulatory participants with spinal cord injury (SCI). On examining mobility aids used for ambulation, 65% were found to have used at least one aid. Severe pain intensity was reported by 11%, and 14% reported severe pain interference. Disabling fatigue was reported by 10% of the participants. Twenty-one percent (n=138) reported moderate-to-severe levels of depressive symptoms. On examining the relationships between mobility aids and depressive symptomatology, using people as a mobility aid was associated with increased odds of depressive symptomatology (2.6) and always using a wheelchair was associated with lower odds (0.3). However, these relationships were no longer significant after controlling for the mediating variables pain intensity, pain interference and fatigue. (DiPiro, Saunders, Brotherton, Kraft, & Krause; 2014)

March is also Women's History Month. Below are a few research bytes from our findings.

  • Cross-sectional data was used to investigate the relation among aging, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic indicators, and depressive symptoms after spinal cord injury (SCI). Forty-eight percent of the participants reported clinically significant symptoms. Minority participants, particularly women, were at a substantially higher risk for depressive symptoms. This risk diminished but did not disappear after controlling for years of education and income, both of which were highly negatively correlated with depressive symptoms. Aging factors were modestly positively correlated with depression, although education or income did not mediate these associations. (Krause, Kemp, & Coker; 2000)
  • A cross-sectional study was designed to assess the relationship of race and gender with subjective well- being (SWB) and determine if pain severity and pain interference mediated that relationship. Pain severity and pain interference were significantly correlated with each SWB domain. Race was initially significantly associated with home life and vocational SWB. Blacks were more likely to report lower scores on home life and vocational SWB than Whites.  Gender was only associated with vocational SWB where women reported higher SWB than males. (Saunders, Gregory-Bass, & Krause; 2013)


The information posted on the MUSC: Longevity after Injury Project website is intended for educational purposes and should not be construed as medical advice. --Further Details--


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