Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Promising new treatment helps people with spine injuries walk better

Date:
November 27, 2013
Source:
American Academy of Neurology (AAN)
Summary:
Scientists may have found a new treatment that can help people with spinal cord injuries walk better.

Scientists may have found a new treatment that can help people with spinal cord injuries walk better. The research is published in the November 27, 2013, online issue of Neurologyฎ, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Related Articles


"About 59 percent of all spinal injuries are incomplete, leaving pathways that could allow the spinal cord to change in a way that allows people to walk again. Unfortunately, usually a person affected by this type of spinal injury seldom recovers the ability to walk normally," said study author Randy D. Trumbower, PT, PhD, with Emory University in Atlanta. "Our research proposes a promising new way for the spinal cord to make the connections needed to walk better."

The research involved 19 people with spine injuries between levels C2 and T12, no joint shortening, some controlled ankle, knee, and hip movements, and the ability to walk at least one step without human assistance. Research team members were based at Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology and Shepherd Center in Atlanta, the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

The participants were exposed to short periods of breathing low oxygen levels, which is called hypoxia. The participants breathed through a mask for about 40 minutes a day for five days, receiving 90-second periods of low oxygen levels followed by 60 seconds of normal oxygen levels. The participants' walking speed and endurance was tested before the study started, on the first and fifth days of treatment, and again one and two weeks after the treatment ended.

The participants were divided into two groups. In one, nine people received either the treatment or a sham treatment where they received only normal oxygen levels. Then two weeks later they received the other treatment. In the other group, the participants received the treatment or sham treatment and then were asked to walk as fast as they could for 30 minutes within one hour of the treatment, then received the other treatment two weeks later.

Those who received just the hypoxia treatment increased their walking speed on a test of walking 10 meters, walking an average of 3.8 seconds faster than when they did not receive the treatment.

Those who had the treatment plus walking increased their endurance on a test of how far they could walk in six minutes by an average of 100 meters, which was more than a 250-percent increase compared to those who had the sham treatment plus walking.

All participants improved their ability to walk. More than 30 percent of all participants increased their walking speed by at least a tenth of a meter per second and more than 70 percent increased their endurance by at least 50 meters.

"One question this research brings to light is how a treatment that requires people to take in low levels of oxygen can help movement, let alone in those with compromised lung function and motor abilities," said Michael G. Fehlings, MD, PhD, with the University of Toronto in Canada, who wrote a corresponding editorial on the study. "A possible answer is that spinal serotonin, a neurotransmitter, sets off a cascade of changes in proteins that help restore connections in the spine."

Trumbower cautions that chronic or sustained hypoxia in untrained hands may cause serious injury and should not be attempted outside the scope of a supervised medical treatment.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Academy of Neurology (AAN). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Heather B. Hayes, Arun Jayaraman, Megan Herrmann, Gordon S. Mitchell, William Z. Rymer, and Randy D. Trumbower. Daily intermittent hypoxia enhances walking after chronic spinal cord injury: A randomized trial. Neurology, November 2013

Cite This Page:

American Academy of Neurology (AAN). "Promising new treatment helps people with spine injuries walk better." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131127170051.htm>.
American Academy of Neurology (AAN). (2013, November 27). Promising new treatment helps people with spine injuries walk better. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131127170051.htm
American Academy of Neurology (AAN). "Promising new treatment helps people with spine injuries walk better." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131127170051.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

Rural India's Low-Cost Sanitary Pad Revolution

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — One man hopes his invention -– a machine that produces cheap sanitary pads –- will help empower Indian women. Duration: 01:51 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO Says Male Ebola Survivors Should Abstain From Sex

WHO Says Male Ebola Survivors Should Abstain From Sex

Newsy (Nov. 28, 2014) — WHO cites four studies that say Ebola can still be detected in semen up to 82 days after the onset of symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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