Project SCIN

Spinal Cord Injury Neurosexuality (SCIN) Project – Developing a biological understanding of sexual health following spinal cord injury
Project SCIN
Project Status: In progress
Project administered by: SAHMRI

This is a landmark study exploring the biological nature of sexual function following spinal cord injury using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

Sexual health is a high priority for men and women with spinal cord injury (SCI). Despite the advent of phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors such as Sildenafil (Viagra), individuals with SCI still report diminished sexual satisfaction and activity after injury.

The psychological impacts of SCI on sexual responses have been previously demonstrated and various methods have been developed to assess these responses. Our understanding of the biological basis of sexual dysfunction in this context is still preliminary and there is no consensus treatment guideline or evidence-based treatment plan.

This study will perform detailed clinical assessment comparing the spared neurological and autonomic functions of men and women with complete SCIs with quantitative fMRI read-out of cord and brain activity. This will enable evaluation of human subjects in real-time and help us to elucidate the functional nature of psychogenic sexual response.