Blood Pressure Control May Lead to More Mobility

Patients with new spinal cord injuries whose blood pressure is maintained within a newly defined range during surgery may stand a better chance of regaining some mobility and functionality – even in patients with the most devastating injuries – according to a new study by researchers at UC San Francisco.

For one patient in particular, a father of two injured in a surfing accident, the innovative insight and bench-to-bedside research that followed meant the difference between total paralysis and resuming his life.

Using a novel machine-learning technique called topological data analysis (TDA) – so-called because it borrows concepts from geometric topology – the researchers were able to identify patterns in large datasets to find connections never before understood that explain why some people recover some motor control after a significant injury, while others are left with total paralysis. The study also may have ramifications for patients undergoing spinal surgeries for more common conditions, the researchers said, although further investigation is needed.

“Without the use of TDA, data would be heterogenous, overwhelming and beyond human comprehension,” said co-corresponding author Adam Ferguson, PhD, director of data science at the UCSF Brain and Spinal Injury Center, who was the first scientist to harness machine learning as a tool to uncover the connection between