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Some kids with spinal cord injury may be overlooked for walking rehabilitation
Date:11/15/2010

y. Then, for 76 sessions, the child participated in the program of locomotor training run by Behrman and Howland and their research team. The training takes a task-specific, intense repetitive practice approach with the goal of activating the neuromuscular system essential for walking.

The child was evaluated one month after locomotor training and then annually for four years. With the help of a rolling walker, he walks independently and can achieve speeds of nearly two-thirds of a meter per second. Without further training, he learned to pedal a tricycle, crawl, climb stairs and swim. He reported improved bladder sensation and attended elementary school full time without a wheelchair.

But, despite his functional improvements, his lower extremity motor score never changed he remains unable to perform isolated leg joint movements even though he walks full time.

"The idea is that there may be a small subset in the spinal cord injury population that can benefit from training whom we have not identified, and the reason we have not identified them is that the traditional way isn't informing us," Behrman said. "These are all severely injured kids. Just think across the lifespan of a child who may be 3- or 6- or 10-years-old at the time of injury, what a difference it would make if they could regain a fraction of mobility. Even better trunk control means quite a bit pushing a wheelchair, or sitting behind a desk more comfortably, can be very important."

The Kids Step Study is supported by the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation and includes researchers and clinicians from UF's McKnight Brain Institute, the Veterans Affairs Brain Rehabilitation and Research Center at the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center in Gainesville, Shands Jacksonville and the Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital in Jacksonville. Support also comes through grants from the Florida Department of Health Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Program, the University of Florida Clinical Translat
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Contact: John Pastor
jdpastor@ufl.edu
352-273-5815
University of Florida
Source:Eurekalert

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