This is a part of the Hot Topic podcast series from the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center on Managing Bowel Function After Spinal Cord Injury. Denise G. Tate, Ph.D., researcher, discusses Technological Advances Needed.

Denise G. Tate, Ph.D., ABPP

Professor and Associate Chair for Research

Co-Director, University of Michigan Spinal Cord Injury Model System

But it’s in the literature, too, that a lot of patients or persons with spinal cord injuries will say it’s more important for me to have – be able to have bowel function normalized, and bladder function, than to be able to walk, because life would be so much easier for me. I can still be independent.

And perhaps this has to do with the advance in technology these days, because you do have ways that people can have very good wheelchairs that they can get in different – sport wheelchairs, lightweight wheelchairs, which are very mobile for people. There are certain braces. We see that with exoskeletons, the new ways that people are learning to walk.

So there are more technology being used in the walking area than in issues like bowel dysfunction, for example, where that could – if there was a way that you could maybe stimulate your bowel or bladder at certain times electrically, that you could have your bowel program at that time so you don’t have to wait five hours for your bowel program for your bowels to work.

But you can then have a bowel movement at the time that you wanted to before you go out of the house. So I think technology has not advanced to the level that it could be with issues of bowel dysfunction, for example.

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