Researchers at the Kennedy Krieger Institute announced today the results of a pilot study demonstrating use of a virtual therapeutic sailing simulator as an important part of rehabilitation following a spinal cord injury (SCI).
Published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, findings show that using a hands-on sailing simulator over a 12-week period helped participants safely learn sailing skills in a controlled environment, ultimately improving their quality of life by gaining the ability to participate in a recreational sport.
For many individuals living with paralysis, participation in recreational sports may seem impossible or even unimportant. This study is one of the first to scientifically quantify the positive impact of therapeutic sailing following a spinal cord injury, including a significant increase in overall self-confidence and sense of accomplishment among participants.
“Sports and recreation are a very important component of the rehabilitation process, not only for general physical well-being, but for improving overall quality of life for patients who have sustained spinal cord injuries,” says Dr. Albert Recio, study author and physician in the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury at Kennedy Krieger Institute. “We are very pleased with the results of this unique training program and hope that this type of recreational tool can also help in the rehabilitation of patients with other disabilities.”
Study participants had chronic spinal cord injuries that occurred more than six months prior to beginning use of the Virtual Sailing VSail-Trainer, the first sailing simulator available for people with paralysis. The stationary, motorized sailboat cockpit features specialized software that enables patients to navigate the boat around a virtual course in the same way as an actual sailboat in the water.
Electronic sensors give the participant real-time feedback that matches their movements and allows them to control wind strength and water conditions. Participants had no previous sailing experience and worked with the sailing simulator for one hour per week for 12 weeks.
During each session, a therapist assessed several physical and neurological indicators and compared the results to measurements taken prior to beginning the training program. All participants completed a questionnaire at the beginning and end of the study designed to evaluate their quality of life and self-esteem.Results showed that:
Following completion of the training program, all subjects were able to successfully sail and perform specific maneuvers on the water at a sailing center in Baltimore, Md.
The results of this study provide preliminary evidence that the use of the Virtual Sailing’s VSail-Training technology in a safe, controlled environment enables individuals with SCI to learn the skills required to sail on the water and can result in quality of life improvements. Of note, the subjects were able to participate in a sports activity with their respective family members and experienced a sense of optimism about the future.
This pilot study involved only people with SCI; however, in principle this approach could be used with people with a wide range of injuries including loss of limbs and brain injury. Additional research will be required to develop the relevant protocols.
This study was supported by the Kennedy Krieger Institute‘s International Center for Spinal Cord Injury, the Johns Hopkins University and the University of Melbourne, Australia.
About the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury
The International Center for Spinal Cord Injury (ICSCI) at Kennedy Krieger Institute was founded in 2005 on the philosophy that individuals with paralysis can always hope for recovery of sensation, function, mobility, and independence, months and even years after injury. ICSCI is one of the first facilities in the world to combine innovative research with a unique focus on restoration and rehabilitation for children and adults with chronic paralysis. More than 2,000 patients from the U.S. and around the world have received treatment at the Center.
About the Kennedy Krieger Institute
Internationally recognized for improving the lives of children and adolescents with disorders and injuries of the brain and spinal cord, the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, MD, serves more than 20,000 individuals each year through inpatient and outpatient clinics, home and community services and school-based programs. Kennedy Krieger provides a wide range of services for children with developmental concerns mild to severe, and is home to a team of investigators who are contributing to the understanding of how disorders develop while pioneering new interventions and earlier diagnosis.
Media Contact:Megan Feffer
Megan Feffer | EurekAlert!
Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator
23.02.2018 | University of Turku
Minimising risks of transplants
22.02.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.
In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...
A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.
By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy