Studies Support Innovative Therapy for SCI

Innovative therapies for spinal cord injury aren’t just for show. According to new research, these therapies can yield significant functional improvements leading to a higher quality of life.

Based on the findings of the series of studies published in the September issue of Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, rehabilitation centers around the country might be making some changes in protocol and policy.

“These studies provide scientific and clinical evidence from hundreds of patients that long-term rehabilitation practices such as locomotor training, exercise and wellness activities for patients with full or partial spinal cord injuries lead to improved health and function in patients,” Dr. Sue Ann Sisto, professor of physical therapy and research director in the Division of Rehabilitation Sciences and director of the Rehabilitation Research and Movement Performance (RRAMP) Laboratory at Stony Brook University School of Health Technology and Management (SHTM), and co-director of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation NeuroRecovery Network.

Most of the studies involved assessment and improvement of patients’ motor or neurological functioning; others focused on overall health status.

In one study, researchers concluded that body position, age and neurological level affect resting blood pressure and heart rate. Sisto, the lead author, said the findings provide a reference for cardiovascular health parameters for those with incomplete spinal cord injuries and provides evidence to support clinical screening for cardiovascular dysfunction.

Read summaries of the studies here.