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April 25, 1990

Administering Methylprednisolone Promptly Appears to Mitigate Cord-Injury Paralysis

JAMA. 1990;263(16):2150-2153. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440160012005

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THE PARALYZING effects of trauma to the spinal cord have been mitigated with massive doses of methylprednisolone.

In most cord injuries, the investigators say, the damage consists of bruising or crushing. The reaction to this is electrolyte imbalance, swelling of the cord, ischemia, and nerve cell death, followed by scar tissue formation. It appears, they say, that methylprednisolone inhibits this damage.

Prompt Dissemination  This finding is being announced from the sponsoring National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus in Bethesda, Md, before publication in the scientific literature because it is deemed important to convey the information to clinicians as quickly as possible by a variety of means. It is said to constitute the first effective treatment for spinal cord damage and culminates a 13-year effort by the NIH's National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.The results are from a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 487 patients with acute spinal cord injury