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US Department of Defense awards University of South Florida $1.59 million for musculoskeletal research
Date:9/22/2011

ifting heavy loads, driving or marching over rough terrain, during fitness training.

"All kinds of things put pressure on the back and lead to high incidences of back injury in the field, from the weight of full body armor to bouncing around in convoys," said Childs, an Air Force lieutenant colonel. "There's a tendency to ignore or downplay back pain because soldiers don't want to appear weak. It can have a demoralizing effect."

The researchers will follow approximately 600 soldiers training to become combat medics at the Fort Sam Houston army base over 12 weeks. All will complete the Army's standard fitness program for new recruits. In addition, the 300 soldiers enrolled in the investigational group will undergo high-intensity, progressive resistance training on a computerized machine (MedX lumbar extension dynamometer, WellTek Inc, Orlando, FL) designed to isolate and build the strength and endurance of the lumbar extensor muscles. The other 300 soldiers (control group) will perform low-intensity floor exercises to stabilize their abdominal core muscles.

Both the investigational and control exercise interventions will be performed once a week over the 12-week study. The strength and endurance of the soldiers' lumbar extensor muscles will be measured before the study begins and after it ends.

The researchers hypothesize that the investigational group's targeted intervention will increase lumbar muscle function significantly better than the control group's core muscle exercise intervention. Dr. Childs is also performing other studies at the Army Medical Department Center & School to determine optimal exercise and educational approaches to prevent and manage low back pain in soldiers.

The USF prosthetic research has the potential to transform the lives of the growing number of young amputee soldiers by giving them the option of returning to active service -- possibly even the war zone -- if they desire and can perform the
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Contact: Anne DeLotto Baier
abaier@health.usf.edu
813-974-3300
University of South Florida (USF Health)
Source:Eurekalert  

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US Department of Defense awards University of South Florida $1.59 million for musculoskeletal research
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