Z 4/28-4/29 - 45th Interdisciplinary Spinal Cord Injury/Disease Course: Biomarkers and Prognostic Indicators

Attend our 45th Annual Spinal Cord Injury/Disease Course LIVE, ONLINE!

  • Internationally Renowned Keynotes

  • Earn up to 12.75 Contact Hours over 2 Days

  • Lectures, case studies and panel discussions all online

Persons with SCI and their families experience a severe decrease in quality of life due to the physical, social, psychological and financial burden of long-term health care, income loss, and disability.1Rehabilitation professionals can have a huge effect in limiting this impact by accurately assessing function and prognosis of disability and focusing the patient and family on attainable goals. This course aims to review research updates in biomarkers to aid the clinician or researcher in making an accurate estimate of prognosis. Prognostic factors from neuroimaging, to blood and systemic physiological markers (such as spasticity and descending connectivity) will be reviewed.

Prognosis prediction is essential for planning rehabilitation programs, setting functional goals, return to community reintegration and organizing financial resources, including insurance coverage. However, predicting long-term outcomes from initial characteristics is a challenging task; there is a pressing need to improve prediction of SCI recovery. At present, the most important factor that predicts neurological recovery is the severity of damage detected by the clinical neurological exam. We will review many of these prognostic factors, but also discuss at length how these markers, indicators and outcome measures can guide effective clinical reasoning in rehabilitation. A panel discussion will focus on resources for return to community reintegration and case studies will help the learner integrate the materials.

For full course details and workshop descriptions and faculty list, please review the course brochure: Click Here

LOCATION: Online - Right at home!

AUDIENCE: Occupational Therapists, Occupational Therapy Assistants,  Physical Therapists, Physical Therapist Assistants, Physicians, Speech Language Pathologists and Nurses who have experience with the SCI population

OBJECTIVES: Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to: 

  • Describe specific biomarkers used to predict outcomes and recovery following SCI.
  • Illustrate how a physiological impairment level assessment can guide rehabilitation and answer critical questions surrounding locomotor recovery.
  • Recognize how issues such as autonomic dysreflexia or labor and delivery can alter the sympathetic and parasympatheic responses in individuals with an SCI.
  • Discuss ways to facilitate community reintegration for individuals with a spinal cord injury.
  • Defend how prognostic or ethical factors guide clinical reasoning in a variety of case examples.


    • The Application of Imaging for Prognosis and Treatment of SCI - Have you ever struggled with knowing how to apply knowledge of MRI to inform your clinical practice? By becoming better at understanding an MRI scan, you can learn how to help guide your treatment care and make effective rehabilitation recommendations for patients. You do not need to have prior imaging experience to participate. This lab session will give an overview on the use of MRI for aiding and informing our treatment of patients with SCI. The workshop will provide a basic understanding of imaging can be used in clinical practice. Participants will be invited to break into smaller breakout groups to have a more interactive session applying the session to interpretation of MRI.
    • Physiological Impairment Level Assessment - In this online lab, participants will have an opportunity to review different assessments that are important in patients with SCI/D. Each demonstration will review outcomes focusing on sensory function and dermatome assessment, spasticity assessment using a portable dynamometer, and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)and use of vibration in conjunction with stretching. The session will feature both demonstration and instruction with cases.


    In order to receive contact hours, daily attendance and completion of an online evaluation are required. 



    The Shirley Ryan AbilityLab (P0609-11/30/2022) is accredited as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. This CNE is being offered for 12.75 contact hours of continuing nursing education.

    Occupational Therapy

    Shirley Ryan AbilityLab is an AOTA Approved Provider of professional development. Course approval ID# 03763. This distance learning-interactive course is offered at 12.5 contact hours, 1.25 CEUs [intermediate level, Foundational Knowledge/OT Service Delivery]. AOTA does not endorse specific course content, products, or clinical procedures.

    Physical Therapy

    This two-day course has been approved by the Illinois Physical Therapy Board for 12.5 contact Hours. Approval #216-000069

    The Shirley Ryan AbilityLab is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Physical Therapy as an approved provider of physical therapy and physical therapist assistant continuing education. This two-day course has been approved for 12.5 Contact Hours

    The following states require continuing education units with no state specific approval: CT, IA, and WA


    The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago DBA Shirley Ryan AbilityLab is accredited by the Illinois State Medical Society (ISMS) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

    The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago DBA Shirley Ryan AbilityLab designates this live activity for a maximum of 12.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s). Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

    Speech-Language Pathology

    Technology Requirements

    To participate, you will need access to a computer with an Internet connection. High-speed broadband access (LAN, Cable or DSL) is highly recommended.

    • Download the latest version of Zoom (check for it on zoom.us under Resources)
    • Internet connection: broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE)
    • Web browser:

    Apple Safari: Latest stable version
    Google Chrome: Latest stable version
    Mozilla Firefox: Latest stable version
    JavaScript and Cookies enabled

    • Flash Player 9+
    • Speaker or headset to listen to audio files and participate in Zoom calls
    • Do NOT use Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge, as they are not supported. 


    (Please note: None of these organizations have input into the planning or delivery of course content. )


     Premier Title Sponsor

    Gold Level Sponsor

    Edward Hines, Jr. Veteran’s Affairs Hospital

    We would also like to thank Merz for their educational grant which supports the Academy at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab and helps us pull together programs such as this.


      Nurses Occupational Therapists Occupational Therapy Assistants OTA and PTA Physical Therapist Assistants Physical Therapists Physicians Speech Language Pathologists


      Spinal Cord Injury