The search for cure - new approach

Change of policy

SCI is one of the most difficult challenges in medical science. Sustaining a spine fracture that leads to SCI has a devasting and costly impact on both the indivuals who suffer from SCI as well as their families and communities.

Notwithstanding impressive advances in various fields of medical science in the past half-century, SCI treatments have seen little progress. The demand for rehabilitation techniques for the large number of injured soldiers returning from World War II led to the rehabilitative approach still current – to train people with disabilities towards improved function and self-reliance in a wheelchair. This rehabilitative philosophy has done much good and increased the independence of people with disabilities – but it is not a cure.

A major obstacle to progress in the SCI field is that businesses have seen little profit potential in developing cures of spinal cord injuries – unlike in many other medical fields. This results in insufficient investment in SCI research and experimental treatments for adequate progress to be made. Clearly, new ways of delivering real results are needed.

A new approach

A new surgical approach is planned on patients who suffer from spinal cord injuries. For the first time surgery will take place on acute SCI only hours after the accident because current surgical results on patients with chronic SCI have not appreciably improved over the last decades. The procedure is directed specifically at the spinal cord itself where all pressure is taken from the spinal cord to avoid irreversible damage to its neural tissue (“Treatment of Acute Spinal Cord Injury by Omental Transposition: A New Approach” by Harry S. Goldsmith, MD, FACS, published by the American College of Surgeons 2009 ).

This experimental treatment will be carried out this summer by the US surgeon and professor Harry S Goldsmith, MD, the author of the new approach, and by local surgeons.

International Database

International Database for spinal cord injury


Icelandic Health Authorities and the World Health Organization (WHO) with the support of the Council of Europe have launched an international effort to accumulate information on various therapies and procedures that have the potential to restore function in people who have sustained a spinal cord injury (SCI).

The project is built on a belief that if we can open-mindedly integrate the divergent pieces of the puzzle that exist throughout the world - whether they originate in the US, China, Russia etc., whether they reflect the perspectives of Western or Eastern medicine, or whether they reflect the contributions of large medical centers or small clinics - restoration of function is a real-world possibility now and not just some distant pie-in-the-sky possibility.

The overall goal of this database is to make information on diverse therapies more readily available to people with SCI, their family, friends, and caregivers.

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Database in english

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Database in spanish

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Postal address: Institute of Spinal Cord Injury, Iceland - ISCI,
Main office: Institute of Spinal Cord Injury, Iceland - ISCI (Mænuskaðastofnun Íslands), Nesbali 56, IS-170 Seltjarnarnes
tel +354 562 4925 / +354 897 4925 isci @