Tag: locomotor training
Medicine, engineering work together to build custom tool for successful therapy
Children with spinal cord injuries have experienced remarkable results in recovery at the University of Louisville and Frazier Rehab Institute through locomotor training, a therapy designed to help them recover the ability to sit, stand and even walk. In locomotor training, the child is suspended over a treadmill and his or her feet are moved by trainers in a stepping motion. This taps into capability of the spinal cord to help the child regain movement and trunk control.
Severe spinal cord injuries (SCIs) — often called complete injuries by clinicians — are ones where no readable signal from the brain reaches the spinal cord beneath the trauma, resulting in total paralysis. The possibility that a patient with this type of severe injury might regain movement was once considered so remote that rehab has traditionally seemed a waste of time.
And yet, in a handful of patients spanning multiple levels of severity, movement is being regained.
Activity-based training has resulted in unexpected benefits for individuals with severe spinal cord injury. Researchers in the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center at the University of Louisville have discovered that the training, designed to help individuals with SCI improve motor function, also leads to improved bladder and bowel function and increased sexual desire.
Research participants receiving activity-based training conducted by KSCIRC at Frazier Rehab Institute initially reported improvements in bladder, bowel and sexual function anecdotally. Charles Hubscher, PhD, professor and researcher at KSCIRC, has documented those changes in research published today in the journal PLOS ONE.
Locomotor training is helping Emmalie, who was unable to walk after suffering a spinal cord injury, take steps, sit up on her own and improve her range of motion. Andrea Behrman, PhD, professor in the UofL Department of Neurosurgery, researches locomotor training in children at UofL.
“It turns out the spinal cord is really really smart. And it may be as smart as the brain,” Behrman said. “The brain gets information, listens to it, reads it, responds, integrates it and generates an outcome. When (the researchers) found that out, they said ‘I wonder if anybody can use this information in rehabilitating people with spinal cord injuries?’ And the answer is yes.”
The Helmsley Charitable Trust provides $1.5 million grant
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – At three months of age, Emmalie Smith suffered a spinal cord injury leaving her paralyzed. Her parents, Amy and Bryce, took her to traditional physical and occupational therapy three times a week with the hope that their little girl would regain her ability to move.
Amy says the results were underwhelming, with Emmalie using her forehead to activate a motorized wheelchair.
Spinal cord injuries that result in paraplegia may one day be treatable using a technique that bypasses the damaged neural pathways that connect the brain to the spinal locomotor center. The researchers, from the National Institute for Physiological Sciences in Japan, have demonstrated how the computer-controlled bypass circuit allowed a subject to use hand movements to initiate walking.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. —Two men who were told they’d never walk again are defying odds with help from Frazier Rehab.
Frazier Rehab is making their mobility possible through its research and special equipment and many institutes are following suit.
Both of the men were in serious car accidents that left them with fractured spinal cords.
One man lost feeling from the chest down.
But now, not only does he have sensation back — he’s also regained his independence.
A large body of evidence shows that spinal circuits are significantly affected by training, and that intrinsic circuits that drive locomotor tasks are located in lumbosacral spinal segments in rats with complete spinal cord transection. However, after incomplete lesions, the effect of treadmill training has been debated, which is likely because of the difficulty of separating spontaneous stepping from specific training-induced effects.
According to a study published in the Neural Regeneration Research (Vol. 8, No. 27, 2013), a rat model of spinal cord contusion at the T10 level was used to examine the effect of step training.
Locomotor therapies re-create and repeat the pattern of walking to train the spinal cord in functions formerly controlled by the brain.
Locomotor therapies re-create and repeat the pattern of walking to train the spinal cord in functions formerly controlled from the brain. More than 600 patients have trained in the system, with a wide spectrum of benefits.
It’s a declaration and a question, the first words on the lips of the newly injured after a spinal-cord accident.
“I will walk again.”
“Will I walk again?”
Researchers Observe Inflammation in Animal Models Far From Trauma Location
COLUMBUS, Ohio – New research suggests that treadmill training soon after a spinal cord injury can have long-lasting positive effects on recovery – as long as the training is accompanied by efforts to control inflammation in the lower spinal cord.
The study, in animals, also is among the first to show that spinal cord injuries can create impairments in parts of the cord located many spine segments away from the trauma site.