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Age and tests can predict spinal cord recovery

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A combination of age and the results of four neurological tests accurately predict the chances of that person walking again after a serious spinal cord injury, according to researchers.

The study looked at 1,442 patients with spinal cord injuries.

Age – being under 65 versus over 65 years – and tests assessing the motor scores of the quad muscles, calf muscles, and sensation of skin at the inner side of the knee and outer side of the ankle showed excellent discrimination in distinguishing independent walkers from dependent walkers and non-walkers.

The authors said: “We have developed a simple clinical prediction rule… that can be used by to counsel patients.”

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