Browse Health
Physiatrist (physical, rehabilitation), Neurologist (brain, nervous system)
16 years of experience
Accepting new patients

Education ?

Medical School Score Rankings
The University of Texas Southwestern (1994)
  • Currently 4 of 4 apples
Top 25%

Awards & Distinctions ?

American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Affiliations ?

Dr. Tansey is affiliated with 12 hospitals.

Hospital Affilations



  • Children's Medical Center of Dallas
    1935 Motor St, Dallas, TX 75235
    • Currently 4 of 4 crosses
    Top 25%
  • UT Southwestern University Hospital - St. Paul
    5909 Harry Hines Blvd, Dallas, TX 75235
    • Currently 4 of 4 crosses
    Top 25%
  • Parkland Health & Hospital System
    5201 Harry Hines Blvd, Dallas, TX 75235
    • Currently 1 of 4 crosses
  • Zale Lipshy Hospital
  • Barnes Jewish Hospital
  • Children S Hospital
  • UT Southwestern Zale Lipshy Hospital
  • Shepherd Center
    2020 Peachtree Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30309
  • Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center
    1670 Clairmont Rd, Decatur, GA 30033
  • UT Southwestern St Paul Hospital
  • Parkland Health and Hospital System
  • Parkland Hospital
  • Publications & Research

    Dr. Tansey has contributed to 11 publications.
    Title United States (us) Multi-center Study to Assess the Validity and Reliability of the Spinal Cord Independence Measure (scim Iii).
    Date December 2011
    Journal Spinal Cord

    Multi-center, prospective, cohort study.

    Title Oxytocin Receptor (oxtr) Does Not Play a Major Role in the Aetiology of Autism: Genetic and Molecular Studies.
    Date July 2010
    Journal Neuroscience Letters

    Oxytocin (OXT) has been hypothesized to play a role in aetiology of autism based on a demonstrated involvement in the regulation of social behaviours. It is postulated that OXT reduces activation of the amygdala, inhibiting social anxiety, indicating a neural mechanism for the effects of OXT in social cognition. Genetic variation at the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) has been reported to be associated with autism. We examined 18 SNPs at the OXTR gene for association in three independent autism samples from Ireland, Portugal and the United Kingdom. We investigated cis-acting genetic effects on OXTR expression in lymphocytes and amygdala region of the brain using an allelic expression imbalance (AEI) assay and by investigating the correlation between RNA levels and genotype in the amygdala region. No marker survived multiple correction for association with autism in any sample or in a combined sample (n=436). Results from the AEI assay performed in the lymphoblast cell lines highlighted two SNPs associated with relative allelic abundance in OXTR (rs237897 and rs237895). Two SNPs were found to be effecting cis-acting variation through AEI in the amygdala. One was weakly correlated with total gene expression (rs13316193) and the other was highlighted in the lymphoblast cell lines (rs237895). Data presented here does not support the role of common genetic variation in OXTR in the aetiology of autism spectrum disorders in Caucasian samples.

    Title Autologous Transplants of Adipose-derived Adult Stromal (adas) Cells Afford Dopaminergic Neuroprotection in a Model of Parkinson's Disease.
    Date May 2008
    Journal Experimental Neurology

    Adult adipose contains stromal progenitor cells with neurogenic potential. However, the stability of neuronal phenotypes adopted by Adipose-Derived Adult Stromal (ADAS) cells and whether terminal neuronal differentiation is required for their consideration as alternatives in cell replacement strategies to treat neurological disorders is largely unknown. We investigated whether in vitro neural induction of ADAS cells determined their ability to neuroprotect or restore function in a lesioned dopaminergic pathway. In vitro-expanded naïve or differentiated ADAS cells were autologously transplanted into substantia nigra 1 week after an intrastriatal 6-hydroxydopamine injection. Neurochemical and behavioral measures demonstrated neuroprotective effects of both ADAS grafts against 6-hydroxydopamine-induced dopaminergic neuron death, suggesting that pre-transplantation differentiation of the cells does not determine their ability to survive or neuroprotect in vivo. Therefore, we investigated whether equivalent protection by naïve and neurally-induced ADAS grafts resulted from robust in situ differentiation of both graft types into dopaminergic fates. Immunohistological analyses revealed that ADAS cells did not adopt dopaminergic cell fates in situ, consistent with the limited ability of these cells to undergo terminal differentiation into electrically active neurons in vitro. Moreover, re-exposure of neurally-differentiated ADAS cells to serum-containing medium in vitro confirmed ADAS cell phenotypic instability (plasticity). Lastly, given that gene expression analyses of in vitro-expanded ADAS cells revealed that both naïve and differentiated ADAS cells express potent dopaminergic survival factors, ADAS transplants may have exerted neuroprotective effects by production of trophic factors at the lesion site. ADAS cells may be ideal for ex vivo gene transfer therapies in Parkinson's disease treatment.

    Title Changes in Motoneuron Properties and Synaptic Inputs Related to Step Training After Spinal Cord Transection in Rats.
    Date May 2007
    Journal The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience

    Although recovery from spinal cord injury is generally meager, evidence suggests that step training can improve stepping performance, particularly after neonatal spinal injury. The location and nature of the changes in neural substrates underlying the behavioral improvements are not well understood. We examined the kinematics of stepping performance and cellular and synaptic electrophysiological parameters in ankle extensor motoneurons in nontrained and treadmill-trained rats, all receiving a complete spinal transection as neonates. For comparison, electrophysiological experiments included animals injured as young adults, which are far less responsive to training. Recovery of treadmill stepping was associated with significant changes in the cellular properties of motoneurons and their synaptic input from spinal white matter [ipsilateral ventrolateral funiculus (VLF)] and muscle spindle afferents. A strong correlation was found between the effectiveness of step training and the amplitude of both the action potential afterhyperpolarization and synaptic inputs to motoneurons (from peripheral nerve and VLF). These changes were absent if step training was unsuccessful, but other spinal projections, apparently inhibitory to step training, became evident. Greater plasticity of axonal projections after neonatal than after adult injury was suggested by anatomical demonstration of denser VLF projections to hindlimb motoneurons after neonatal injury. This finding confirmed electrophysiological measurements and provides a possible mechanism underlying the greater training susceptibility of animals injured as neonates. Thus, we have demonstrated an "age-at-injury"-related difference that may influence training effectiveness, that successful treadmill step training can alter electrophysiological parameters in the transected spinal cord, and that activation of different pathways may prevent functional improvement.

    Title Blocking Soluble Tumor Necrosis Factor Signaling with Dominant-negative Tumor Necrosis Factor Inhibitor Attenuates Loss of Dopaminergic Neurons in Models of Parkinson's Disease.
    Date October 2006
    Journal The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience

    The mechanisms that trigger or contribute to loss of dopaminergic (DA) neurons in Parkinson's disease (PD) remain unclear and controversial. Elevated levels of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) in CSF and postmortem brains of PD patients and animal models of PD implicate this proinflammatory cytokine in the pathophysiology of the disease; but a role for TNF in mediating loss of DA neurons in PD has not been clearly demonstrated. Here, we report that neutralization of soluble TNF (solTNF) in vivo with the engineered dominant-negative TNF compound XENP345 (a PEGylated version of the TNF variant A145R/I97T) reduced by 50% the retrograde nigral degeneration induced by a striatal injection of the oxidative neurotoxin 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA). XENP345 was neuroprotective only when infused into the nigra, not the striatum. XENP345/6-OHDA rats displayed attenuated amphetamine-induced rotational behavior, indicating preservation of striatal dopamine levels. Similar protective effects were observed with chronic in vivo coinfusion of XENP345 with bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) into the substantia nigra, confirming a role for solTNF-dependent neuroinflammation in nigral degeneration. In embryonic rat midbrain neuron/glia cell cultures exposed to LPS, even delayed administration of XENP345 prevented selective degeneration of DA neurons despite sustained microglia activation and secretion of solTNF. XENP345 also attenuated 6-OHDA-induced DA neuron toxicity in vitro. Collectively, our data demonstrate a role for TNF in vitro and in vivo in two models of PD, and raise the possibility that delaying the progressive degeneration of the nigrostriatal pathway in humans is therapeutically feasible with agents capable of blocking solTNF in early stages of PD.

    Title Conservative Management of Priapism in Acute Spinal Cord Injury.
    Date December 2005
    Journal Urology

    OBJECTIVES: To perform a retrospective chart review of priapism as a complication of spinal cord injury and review the management and follow-up. Priapism is a known complication of acute spinal cord injury, but little has been written concerning the management of this condition. METHODS: A retrospective chart review (1992 through 2002) was performed for all patients with a diagnosis of priapism. Of these patients, 6 had priapism in the setting of acute spinal cord injury without pelvic trauma. We reviewed the management of the priapism in these cases, and follow-up was attempted in each case. RESULTS: Of the 6 patients with spinal cord injury-related priapism, 4 had spinal cord injury located at C5-C7, 1 at C5-C6, and 1 at T12. The prolonged erections were managed conservatively in 4 patients and irrigated with intracorporeal phenylephrine in 2. All patients with corporal blood gas measurement (n = 4) had nonischemic priapism. All 4 patients who underwent no intervention had the priapism resolve within 5 hours. Four patients (two treated conservatively and two who underwent irrigation) had recurrent episodes during the same admission that resolved spontaneously. Long-term outcomes were obtained by telephone from all 6 patients. Of the 6 patients, 5 had maintained spontaneous erections to date (range 3 to 10 years). CONCLUSIONS: The results of our study have shown that priapism related to acute spinal cord injury is nonischemic and may be managed conservatively because of the high likelihood of resolution. Corporal blood gas measurement is important because the results can guide further management decisions. Our results suggests that conservative management of priapism related to spinal cord injury has a low rate of causing long-term erectile dysfunction.

    Title Reactive Astrocytes Protect Tissue and Preserve Function After Spinal Cord Injury.
    Date May 2004
    Journal The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience

    Reactive astrocytes are prominent in the cellular response to spinal cord injury (SCI), but their roles are not well understood. We used a transgenic mouse model to study the consequences of selective and conditional ablation of reactive astrocytes after stab or crush SCI. Mice expressing a glial fibrillary acid protein-herpes simplex virus-thymidine kinase transgene were given mild or moderate SCI and treated with the antiviral agent ganciclovir (GCV) to ablate dividing, reactive, transgene-expressing astrocytes in the immediate vicinity of the SCI. Small stab injuries in control mice caused little tissue disruption, little demyelination, no obvious neuronal death, and mild, reversible functional impairments. Equivalent small stab injuries in transgenic mice given GCV to ablate reactive astrocytes caused failure of blood-brain barrier repair, leukocyte infiltration, local tissue disruption, severe demyelination, neuronal and oligodendrocyte death, and pronounced motor deficits. Moderate crush injuries in control mice caused focal tissue disruption and cellular degeneration, with moderate, primarily reversible motor impairments. Equivalent moderate crush injuries combined with ablation of reactive astrocytes caused widespread tissue disruption, pronounced cellular degeneration, and failure of wound contraction, with severe persisting motor deficits. These findings show that reactive astrocytes provide essential activities that protect tissue and preserve function after mild or moderate SCI. In nontransgenic animals, crush or contusion SCIs routinely exhibit regions of degenerated tissue that are devoid of astrocytes. Our findings suggest that identifying ways to preserve reactive astrocytes, to augment their protective functions, or both, may lead to novel approaches to reducing secondary tissue degeneration and improving functional outcome after SCI.

    Title Activation of Type-identified Motor Units During Centrally Evoked Contractions in the Cat Medial Gastrocnemius Muscle. I. Motor-unit Recruitment.
    Date November 1996
    Journal Journal of Neurophysiology

    1. The recruitment order of 64 pairs of motor units, comprising 21 type-identified units, was studied during centrally evoked muscle contractions of the cat medial gastrocnemius (MG) muscle in an unanesthetized, high decerebrate preparation. Motor units were functionally isolated within the MG nerve by intra-axonal (or intramyelin) penetration with conventional glass microelectrodes. 2. Graded stimulation of the mesencephalic locomotor region (MLR) was used to evoke smoothly graded contractions, which under favorable conditions was estimated to reach 40% of maximum tetanic tension of the MG muscle. With this method of activation, 100% of slow twitch (type S) units, 95% of fast twitch, fatigue-resistant (type FR) units, 86% of fast twitch, fatigue-intermediate (type FI) units, and 49% of fast twitch, fatigable (type FF) units studied were recruited. 3. Motoneuron size as estimated by axonal conduction velocity (CV) was correlated with muscle-unit size as estimated by maximum tetanic tension (Po). Although the correlation between these properties was significant among type S and FR units, no significant correlation was found for these properties among type FI and FF units. 4. Motor-unit recruitment was ordered by physiological type (S > F, 100% of pairs; S > FR > FI > FF, 93% of pairs). Although none of the motor-unit properties studied predicted recruitment order perfectly, motor-unit recruitment was found to proceed by increasing Po (89% of pairs), decreasing contraction time (79% of pairs), decreasing fatigue index (80% of pairs), and increasing CV (76% of pairs). These percentages were significantly different from random (i.e., 50%). Statistically, all four motor-unit properties were equivalent in predicting recruitment order. These results are similar to those reported by other investigators for motor-unit recruitment order evoked from other supraspinal centers, as well as from peripheral sites. 5. When, however, motor-unit recruitment within pairs of motor units containing two fast-twitch (type F) units was examined, Po was a significantly better predictor of recruitment order than CV (85% vs. 52% of pairs). One explanation for this observation is that the correlation between Po and CV is high among type S, type FR units, and possibly among the lower-tension type FF units, but not among the remaining higher-tension type FF units. 6. The reproducibility of recruitment order in multiple contractions was investigated in 16 motor-unit pairs. Recruitment order was found to be variable in only three motor-unit pairs, all of which contained units of similar physiological type and recruitment threshold. 7. Analysis of recruitment order by pair-wise testing confirms the general conclusion reached in human studies that the muscle force level at recruitment for a motor unit is highly correlated with its strength. As an additional confirmation, the whole-muscle force level at recruitment for 41 units was measured in a series of contractions in which the rate of rise of muscle tension was limited to rates < 1,000 g/s. For these contractions, a significant correlation was found between muscle tension at recruitment and motor-unit Po.

    Title Activation of Type-identified Motor Units During Centrally Evoked Contractions in the Cat Medial Gastrocnemius Muscle. Ii. Motoneuron Firing-rate Modulation.
    Date November 1996
    Journal Journal of Neurophysiology

    1. The aim of this study was to examine the nature of motoneuron firing-rate modulation in type-identified motor units during smoothly graded contractions of the cat medial gastrocnemius (MG) muscle evoked by stimulation of the mesencephalic locomotor region (MLR). Motoneuron discharge patterns, firing rates, and the extent of firing-rate modulation in individual units were studied, as was the extent of concomitant changes in firing rates within pairs of simultaneously active units. 2. In 21 pairs of simultaneously active motor units, studied during 41 evoked contractions, the motoneurons' discharge rates and patterns were measured by processing the cells' recorded action potentials through windowing devices and storing their timing in computer memory. Once recruited, most motoneurons increased their firing rates over a limited range of increasing muscle tension and then maintained a fairly constant firing rate as muscle force continued to rise. Most motoneurons also decreased their firing rates over a slightly larger, but still limited, range of declining muscle force before they were derecruited. Although this was the most common discharge pattern recorded, several other interesting patterns were also seen. 3. The mean firing rate for slow twitch (type S) motor units (27.8 imp/s, 5,092 activations) was found to be significantly different from the mean firing rate for fast twitch (type F) motor units (48.4 imp/s, 11,272 activations; Student's t-test, P < 0.001). There was no significant difference between the mean firing rates of fast twitch, fatigue-resistant (type FR) and fast twitch, fatigable (type FF) motor units. When the relationship between motoneuron firing rate and whole-muscle force was analyzed, it was noted that, in general, smaller, lower threshold motor units began firing at lower rates and reached lower peak firing rates than did larger, higher threshold motor units. These results confirm both earlier experimental observations and predictions made by other investigators on the basis of computer simulations of the cat MG motor pool, but are in contrast to motor-unit discharge behavior recorded in some human motor-unit studies. 4. The extent of concomitant changes in firing rate within pairs of simultaneously active motor units was examined to estimate the extent of simultaneous motoneuron firing-rate modulation across the motoneuron pool. A smoothed (5 point sliding average) version of the two motoneurons' instantaneous firing rates was plotted against each other, and the slope and statistical significance of the relationship was determined. In 16 motor-unit pairs, the slope of the motoneurons' firing-rate relationship was significantly distinct from 0. Parallel firing-rate modulation (< 10-fold difference in firing rate change reflected by a slope of > 0.1) was noted only in pairs containing motor units of like physiological type and then only if they were of similar recruitment threshold. 5. Other investigators have demonstrated that changes in a motoneuron's "steady-state" firing rate predictably reflect changes in the amount of effective synaptic current that cell is receiving. The finding in the present study of limited parallel firing-rate modulation between simultaneously active motoneurons would suggest that changes in the synaptic drive to the various motoneurons of the pool is unevenly distributed. This finding, in addition to the findings of orderly motor-unit recruitment and the relationship between motor-unit recruitment threshold and motoneuron firing rate, cannot be adequately accommodated for by the existing models of the synaptic organization in motoneuron pools. Therefore a new model of the synaptic organization within the motoneuron pool has been proposed.

    Title Activation of Type-identified Motor Units During Centrally Evoked Contractions in the Cat Medial Gastrocnemius Muscle. Iii. Muscle-unit Force Modulation.
    Date November 1996
    Journal Journal of Neurophysiology

    1. The aim of this study was to examine the extent of muscle-unit force modulation due to motoneuron firing-rate variation in type-identified motor units of the cat medial gastrocnemius (MG) muscle, and to investigate the contribution of muscle-unit force modulation to whole-muscle force regulation. The motoneuron discharge patterns recorded from 8 pairs of motor units during 12 smoothly graded muscle contractions evoked by stimulation of the mesencephalic locomotor region (MLR) were used to reactivate those units in isolation to estimate what their force profiles would have been like during the evoked whole-muscle contractions. 2. For most motor units, muscle-unit force modulation was similar to motoneuron firing-rate modulation, in that muscle-unit force increased over a limited range (120-600 g) of increasing whole-muscle tension and was then maintained at a near maximal (> 70%) output level as muscle force continued to rise. Most muscle units also decreased their force outputs over a slightly larger range of declining whole-muscle force before relaxing. This second finding was best explained by the counterclockwise hysteresis recorded in the motor units' frequency-tension (f-t) relationships. 3. In those instances when whole-muscle force fluctuated just above the recruitment threshold of a motor unit, a substantial percentage (10-25%) of the change in whole-muscle force could be accounted for by force modulation in that motor unit alone. This finding suggested that few motor units in the pool were simultaneously simultaneously undergoing force modulation. To evaluate this possibility, the extent of parallel muscle-unit force modulation within the 8 pairs of simultaneously active motor units was evaluated. As with parallel motoneuron firing-rate modulation, the extent of parallel muscle-unit force modulation was limited to unit pairs of the same physiological type and recruitment threshold. In several instances, pairs of motor units displayed parallel motoneuron firing-rate modulation but did not show parallel muscle-unit force modulation because of the nature of the motor units' f-t relationships. 4. The limited extent of parallel muscle-unit force modulation seen in these experiments implies that the major strategy for force modulation in the cat MG muscle, involving contractions estimated to reach 30-40% of maximum, may be motor-unit recruitment rather than motor-unit firing-rate variation with resulting force modulation. Given, however, that the majority of motor units are already recruited at these output levels (< 40%), it is proposed that motor-unit firing-rate variation with resulting force modulation may take over as the major muscle force modulating strategy at higher output levels.

    Title Synchronous Stimulation and Monitoring of Soleus H Reflex During Robotic Body Weight-supported Ambulation in Subjects with Spinal Cord Injury.
    Journal Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development

    We evaluated the accuracy of a novel method for recording the soleus H reflex at specific points in the gait cycle during robotic locomotor training in subjects with spinal cord injury (SCI). Hip goniometric information from the Lokomat system defined midstance and midswing points within the gait cycle. Soleus H reflex stimulation was synchronized to these points during robotic-assisted ambulation at 1.8 and 2.5 km/h. Motor stimulus intensity was monitored and adjusted in real time. Analysis of 50 H reflex cycles during each speed and gait phase showed that stimulation accuracy was within 0.5 degrees of the defined hip joint position and that >85% of the H reflex cycles met the +/-10% M wave criterion that was established during quiet standing. This method allows increased consistency of afferent information into the segmental spinal and supraspinal circuitry and, thus, evaluation of H reflex characteristics during robotic ambulation in subjects with SCI.

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