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Rehabilitation

Spinal Cord Injuries

06/12/2003

Question:

Could you tell me if there have been any recent breakthroughs in the treatment of spinal cord injuries? Thanks.

Answer:

There are several new, promising therapies, but no breakthroughs, per se. One therapy, which is being studied here at The University of Cincinnati, involves having a patient bicycle using a special bicycle that provides electrical stimulation to the legs. This stimulation induces the patient to bike, and provides the patient with a cardiovascular benefit. However, pilot data suggest that participation in this regimen may also provide some functional benefits, in terms of improving motor function and decreasing patient reliance on medication. This is currently being investigated with incomplete spinal cord injured patients at The University of Cincinnati. Another promising modality is treadmill assisted supported walking. In this intervention, SCI patients` weight is partially supported using a harness while the patient is induced to ambulate on a treadmill. Preliminary studies suggest that this intervention is especially effective with incomplete spinal cord injured individuals. Other drug studies are occurring as well. 

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Response by:

Stephen J Page, PhD Stephen J Page, PhD
Director of Research, Associate Professor
Drake Center
University of Cincinnati