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Brethertons, Stoke Mandeville Spinal Research, Neuro Convention 2021 - and an Abseil

Solicitors from the Brethertons spinal cord injuries team attended the European Neuro Convention 21 which was run within Naidex 2021 at the NEC (see our companion blog covering the wider Naidex event).

With two of our team about to abseil the ArcelorMittal Orbit at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London in order to raise money for the Stoke Mandeville Spinal Research charity this weekend, the seminar given by Trustee Nigel Henderson and Ambassador Ralph Charlwood was of particular interest.

‘Living with Spinal Cord Injury – Unseen Complications and the Role of Research’ was a powerfully frank account of the day-to-day difficulties people with spinal cord injury encounter that the population at large would have little conception of. Ralph Charlwood described the range of issues spinal cord injured people face as being ‘like an iceberg – 10% visible, 90% invisible’. Those issues are usually beneath the surface and not really talked about, but they are there every minute of every day.

As solicitors specialising in helping people who have suffered spinal cord injuries it is frustrating that all we can do through litigation is try to secure a sum of money that the law deems matches the ‘losses’ occasioned by the injury. Whilst money can make things a bit easier, no amount of money can truly make up for what is lost, and of course most people who suffer a spinal cord injury do not have grounds to make a compensation claim.

Ralph suggested that most people recognise that the hope of finding a cure for spinal cord injury is a ‘not in our lifetime’ issue. In the charity’s view most people who live with spinal cord injury necessarily focus on finding more pragmatic and practical solutions to the countless issues they encounter on a day-to-day basis. It is in that area that Stoke Mandeville Spinal Research was set up to make a difference.

With an impressive panel selecting and then funding research projects the charity focuses on trying to make a powerful impact on issues that afflict spinal cord injury patients. At the moment research is being funded into projects on:

  • Pain - cingulotomy (cutting brain pathways responsible for pain) in the hope of helping the 50% of patients who experience central neuropathic pain after spinal cord injury.
  • Pain – electroencephalographic prediction (measuring and tracking brain activity before pain develops by EEG soon after spinal cord injury and thereafter to facilitate development of preventative treatment)
  • UTIs - intravesical antibiotics (bladder instillations of antibiotics) to prevent recurrent urinary tract infections
  • Assistive Technology - Oculus VR usage and potential to improve hand and arm function in early stages post injury.
  • Assistive Technology – exoskeleton study on upper limb functionality improvements for those with incomplete tetraplegia

The charity is seeking research proposals concerning urinary tract infection, pressure ulcers, neuropathic pain, and assistive technology for upper limb function with its grant call live from 28th September 2021 (contact or visit

We are passionate about helping where we can, and it is in that spirit and with all the above in mind, that two of our team will be abseiling the ArcelorMittal Orbit this weekend in order to raise money for Stoke Mandeville Spinal Research. To read more – and to support if you can go to . Good luck Katie and Allison – we are all so very proud of you.

Photo Source - By you_only_live_twice from Lighthorne Heath, England - The OrbitUploaded by BaldBoris, CC BY-SA 2.0,

To contact us if you need legal help after spinal cord injury call Jon Rees on 01788 557617 or email, or Sian Buxton on 01788 557578 or email Follow brethertonsspinallaw on Twitter @neurolawyer or visit our website Brethertons