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Improving the lives of people with spinal cord injuries

We awarded £65,000 to the INSPIRE Foundation to fund research which aims to improve the quality of life and independence of those living with spinal cord injuries.

While the inability to walk is often considered the most challenging consequence of spinal cord injury, the loss of control of bladder and bowel is often the most difficult to manage, and can have a persistent and detrimental effect on health, welfare and quality of life.

The NEUROMOD Project

Restoration of bladder and bowel function is a top priority for patients who have experienced a life changing spinal cord injury. The Neuromod Project aims to develop wearable stimulation devices to control bladder and bowel as an alternative to pharmaceutical therapies.

Pelvic functions are controlled by complex interactions between the voluntary and involuntary nervous systems. Following a spinal cord injury, these pathways are disrupted leading to un-inhibited reflex activity which causes incontinence. Neuromodulation (electrical stimulation of neural pathways) of the sacral nerves can be effective at inhibiting these unwanted reflexes.

If successful, this project could reduce or even eliminate the need for pharmaceutical therapies.

The project will be led by research scientist Sean Doherty who broke his neck in a mountain bike accident in 2008.

Following my injury, I was just keen to get on with what I had been doing before it happened. I wanted to be an inventor when I was young; all inventors are trying to solve problems. I think having my injury has directed that ambition towards problems I have seen since.

Impact

Throughout the UK, there are around 40,000 people living with a spinal cord injury. It is hoped that this project will have a huge impact on the lives of those affected; restoring confidence and independence and improving the quality life of both patients and their friends and family.

 

 

Our Impact

Ami, Enquiries Officer

I don’t know why I felt compelled to work in the charity sector – in all honesty, when I was starting my A Levels, I wanted to be a doctor! I studied International Relations at the University of Exeter and started to see all these issues that were affecting people’s lives – very quickly I…

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Paul, Fundraising Support Officer

I’m from south London, born and raised in Croydon. I worked initially in the travel industry before joining my family’s construction business, which I ran for 20 years.   I joined freemasonry in 1994 and soon became involved with masonic charity. I realised that the charity sector was where I wanted to work, but because…

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Roy, Lincolnshire

When my daughter became ill four years ago, we took in our two young grandchildren, Adam and Amymae. Of course we were very happy to have them live with us, but we didn’t realise just how much it would increase our outgoings. With two extra mouths to feed, the electricity bills and the cost of…

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Ted and Sally

After a premature birth, Ted developed cerebral palsy which means that he can’t walk or stand unaided. Sally’s father is a freemason and got in touch with us to see if we could support the family in any way. Ted now has an ‘Upsee mobility harness’ that we part funded and allows him to walk…

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