Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study: Muscles Respond To Getting On Your Feet After Spinal Cord Injury

Date:
January 28, 2004
Source:
University Of Michigan
Summary:
A study in this month's journal Spinal Cord shows that those who have suffered a spinal cord injury can generate muscle activity independent of brain signals.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- When someone's spinal cord is completely severed, brain signals can no longer reach the legs to tell the legs to walk.

A study in this month's journal Spinal Cord shows that those who have suffered a spinal cord injury can generate muscle activity independent of brain signals. Dan Ferris, now an assistant professor of kinesiology at U-M, led the research as part of his post-doctorate work with Susan Harkema at University of California Los Angeles David Geffen School of Medicine.

While many studies have shown that locomotor training, such as working with patients on treadmills, is a viable therapy for helping those who have suffered a spinal cord injury learn to walk again, Ferris and his UCLA colleagues added further evidence that adding weight to the limbs during therapy can provide an important sensory cue to help regain walking.

They also found that moving one leg in therapy can help activate muscles in the opposite leg.

"Nobody has been able to show that in humans before," said Ferris, also an assistant professor of biomedical engineering. "It appears there are left-to-right connections in the signal in the spinal cord, not just connections from the brain to the legs."

The research was partially supported by five grants from the National Institutes of Health.

The team worked with four patients with clinically complete spinal cord injury, doing about 30 sessions with each over about 1.5 years. They hooked each subject into a harness suspended over a treadmill. Trainers helped move the subjects' legs as they stepped on the treadmill.

When the subjects were positioned so that just one leg was on the moving treadmill belt and the other was off the side, not touching the treadmill surface, the team was able to get muscle response in one leg by simulating walking with the other.

"If you step one leg, you can get muscle activation in the other, even when it isn't moving," Ferris said. "This shows that it isn't just muscle stretch that causes activitation."

Ferris and the team---Harkema, Keith Gordan and Janell Beres-Jones---see great potential in this information for developing rehabilitation strategies.

Therapists helping patients recover from spinal cord injury should provide sensory information that simulates walking as closely as possible. Weight loading and movement in one leg can influence what happens in the other leg.

The Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation is funding another project, led by Ferris, to build powered braces to help those with spinal cord injury regain the ability to walk. Ferris speculates that perhaps such braces could help move the legs to recreate a more normal stepping pattern during rehabilitation. Ferris is testing a working model of the braces to assist patients in walking.

Harkema is heading up a second project funded by the foundation to study the therapeutic effects of stand training after spinal cord injury.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Michigan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Michigan. "Study: Muscles Respond To Getting On Your Feet After Spinal Cord Injury." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 January 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040127084528.htm>.
University Of Michigan. (2004, January 28). Study: Muscles Respond To Getting On Your Feet After Spinal Cord Injury. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040127084528.htm
University Of Michigan. "Study: Muscles Respond To Getting On Your Feet After Spinal Cord Injury." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/01/040127084528.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Peace Corps is one of several U.S.-based organizations to pull workers out of West Africa because of the Ebola outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Health officials say 2,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. due to weather, but it's excessive heat and cold that claim the most lives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins