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Aging Population and Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury, pp. 427-446 $100.00
Authors:  Julio C. Furlan
The aging of the general population has led to substantial changes in the
demographics of people with neurotrauma in western society. The proportion of
traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) among older people is rising. Although motor vehicle
accident is the leading cause of traumatic SCI among young individuals, there has been a
worldwide escalation in fall-related SCI among the elderly over the last 20 years.
However, relatively little has been reported to date regarding clinical and neurological
outcomes in the elderly after traumatic SCI. Physiologic changes related to aging have
been accepted as a major reason for increased susceptibility to, and slow recovery and
residual debilitation from, an acute injury. In recent studies based on large cohorts of
patients with SCI, mortality rates among the geriatric group were consistently reported as
significantly greater than non-geriatric group during acute and chronic stages posttrauma.
Nonetheless, the impact of age on impairment and disability among the survivors
of traumatic SCI remains a matter of debate. The review of previous investigations on the
influence of age in neurological outcome after SCI suggests that heterogeneity in results
may depending on methodology. Matching techniques or adjusted data analyses should
be applied for controlling potential major confounders. Despite the lack of understanding
of the role of age in the potentials for recovery after SCI, the clinician needs to guard
against succumbing to “ageism” which refers to biased, negative, stereotyped
misperceptions about the elderly and their performance in society. 

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Aging Population and Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury, pp. 427-446