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Motivation may help improve nervous system injury

On Behalf of | Oct 9, 2015 | Spinal Cord Injuries

As many Ohio residents know, motivation has a great deal to do with accomplishments. This may be true in terms of recovery from spinal cord injuries, a new study suggests. Motivating patients during early rehabilitation may help them recover functionality.

A recently-published study shows that the motivational center of the brain may impact on motor function. The part of the brain that regulates motivation may be capable of activating the area that controls motor function. When motor function is damaged, it is the motor center that enables recovery of motor function. A link between motivation and the motor center was demonstrated using monkeys.

The study used a monkey whose spinal cord was injured. The scientists obstructed the motivation center and noticed that without motivational activity some activity in the monkey’s motor center was decreased. This was done one month after the injury occurred, and the temporary halt in motor center activity resulted in a loss of dexterity in upper extremity digits during rehabilitation. The same process was invoked after three months post-injury with no observable effect. It was not seen in a monkey without a spinal cord injury. The study’s results demonstrate that motivational activity promotes motor function in the first 30 days following injury in the monkey. This might translate into the need for increased motivation in the initial stages of spinal cord damage to achieve better motor function.

Spinal cord injuries are not uncommon in motor vehicle accidents, and they can be life-changing for those who incur them. A person who has received such an injury due to the negligence of another motorist may want to have the assistance of an attorney in filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver seeking compensation for the damages that have been sustained.