Tag: locomotor training
New treatments leverage “neuroplasticity,” the nervous system’s innate ability to repair itself
When Christopher Reeve became quadriplegic, there was little hope for patients with spinal cord injury. Now researchers are combining what they know about the central nervous system’s ability to rewire and regrow with a new understanding of the hidden smarts of the spinal cord to dramatically improve treatments.
Even the most devastating spinal cord injuries usually do not completely sever the link between the brain, spine and the rest of the body. Scientists are now finding ways to make the most of the remaining connections using a variety of technologies. Studies on electrical stimulation and locomotor training (a treatment that relies on human or robotic assistance during a walking exercise) suggest that it is possible to regrow damaged neuronal circuits in the brain and spine and recover some voluntary control. Some of these studies find that circuits in the spinal cord itself can be coaxed into helping the body move again.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Sept. 5, 2012) — Research studies from teams headed by a University of Louisville/Frazier Rehab Institute neuroscientist published online this week demonstrate for the first time that innovative rehabilitative treatments for individuals with spinal cord injuries (SCI) can lead to significant functional improvements in patients and a higher quality of life.
Eleven studies published in the September issue of the “Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation” conclude that establishing a network of rehab centers for SCI that standardizes treatment can lead to significant functional improvements for chronically injured patients.