Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study: Muscles respond to getting on your feet after spinal cord injury

27.01.2004


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.

Colleen Newvine | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www-personal.umich.edu/~ferrisdp/
http://www.harkema.ucla.edu/
http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/DynaPage.taf?file=/sc/journal/v42/n1/full/3101542a.html

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Penn vet research identifies new target for taming Ebola
12.01.2017 | University of Pennsylvania

nachricht The strange double life of Dab2
10.01.2017 | University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

Im Focus: Newly proposed reference datasets improve weather satellite data quality

UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration

"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...

Im Focus: Repairing defects in fiber-reinforced plastics more efficiently

Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.

Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Multiregional brain on a chip

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

New technology enables 5-D imaging in live animals, humans

16.01.2017 | Information Technology

Researchers develop environmentally friendly soy air filter

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>