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Autonomic nervous system response to locomotor training with body weight supported treadmill walking in individuals with incomplete SCI

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5 Author(s)
Bentson, S. ; Kessler Med. Rehabilitation Res. & Educ. Corp., West Orange, NJ, USA ; Reisman, S. ; Wecht, J. ; Forrest, G.
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Progressive locomotor training (LT) with repetitive stepping using body weight supported treadmill training (BWSTT) allows persons with a spinal cord injury (SCI) to ambulate. The foundational nature of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) on the spinal cord advocates heart rate variability (HRV) research in LT. LT proposes a method of regaining normal ANS function by exploiting the plastic properties of the spinal cord. This study will be the first to analyze performance of the ANS through HRV comparing LT to traditional therapy in incomplete SCI. When this study is completed, 36 participants will have been randomly assigned to an experimental BWSTT group or the control group. Preliminary data related to 4 participants (n = 2 experimental and n = 2 control) with chronic C6 tetraplegia (≥ 1 year post injury) classified as incomplete ASIA B and C. The analyses currently under discussion include traditional time and frequency methods including heart rate and systolic blood pressure power spectrums, and the sequencing method of calculating the baroreceptor sensitivity index (BRSI). The data remains insignificant though visual inspection of the data suggest more parasympathetic activation of the LT participants vs. traditional therapy.

Published in:

Bioengineering Conference, 2004. Proceedings of the IEEE 30th Annual Northeast

Date of Conference:

17-18 April 2004

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