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September 3, 1982

Study shows little effect of steroids in spinal injury

JAMA. 1982;248(9):1035. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330090011005

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Despite widespread use of steroids to treat spinal cord injuries, high doses of the agents may have negligible effects, at least in the first six weeks.

This preliminary report comes from a randomized, collaborative study, supported by the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke (NINCDS), Bethesda, Md, concerning the possible benefits of two different dosage levels of corticosteroids in treating such injuries.

However, principal investigator Michael B. Bracken, PhD, points out that the patients involved will be evaluated further at six months and one year after their injuries.

Bracken, a senior research associate and lecturer in epidemiology at Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn, explained the investigation this way at the annual Honolulu meeting of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons:

The study involves 330 patients, in all of whom 11 days of intravenous steroid therapy was started in the emergency department. Half received a