Stroke and Brain/Spinal Cord Injuries FAQs

Physicians and scientists in the Brain Injury and Repair Division are performing cutting-edge research to develop new and better methods to diagnose and treat injuries to the nervous system and are testing novel interventions to allow for better and faster recovery.

How is stroke treated?

Time is critical! Or some physicians say, "Time is brain!" Treatment options depend on how quickly the individual is treated after the stroke. Clot-busting drugs can be very effective with a stroke caused by a blood clot, but only in the first few hours after stroke. Effective treatments exist for acute management of stroke, but treatment approaches for long-term management focusing on recovery of function are much less well established.

My kids play all sorts of sports. The concern about risk of concussions varies widely — what do I need to know to keep my kids safe?

Become educated about factors contributing to concussions in different sports, in boys and girls, and the implications of repeated concussions. Consider evidence-based resources such as the CDC's Head's Up! program rather than relying only on news media or single-case anecdotes, and encourage coaches and other parents to become educated about recognizing signs and symptoms of concussion.

I have heard a lot about new treatments for spinal cord injury. When will we be able to repair injured spinal cords?

Research into spinal cord repair has advanced tremendously over the past two decades. Beneficial effects of various treatments have been shown in many animal models. But the injured spinal cord is still a hostile environment when it comes to regeneration of injured fibers, and spinal cord repair remains extremely challenging. Some ambulatory function can recover with the help of physiotherapy, at least in individuals with incomplete spinal cord injury.

Last modified: Feb 24, 2016

Brain scan

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in America with 750,000 new cases each year.

Spinal cord injury occurs in nearly 15,000 individuals per year in the United States, leaving about 10,000 permanently paralyzed.

Each year, U.S. emergency departments treat an estimated 173,285 sports- and recreation-related TBIs, including concussions, among children and adolescents, from birth to 19 years.