Tailoring physical therapy can restore more functions after neurological injury

Oct 21, 2009

New research suggests a tailored approach to physical therapy after a neurological injury such as a stroke, traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury could help restore a wider variety of functions.

Clinical is a widely used treatment approach to help restore the motor function of patients following neurological injuries. Unfortunately many of the specific treatments used in the clinic only restore function to a specific task, and not to a wide range of everyday activities. This is also true in animal research where stand training only leads to better standing, step training only leads to better stepping, and so forth.

Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center have investigated the effects of training rats with on a (Rodent Robotic Motor Performance System, Robomedica Inc, Irvine, Calif.) that precisely guides the hindlimbs through a training pattern.

The training pattern chosen for this research was the mean pattern recorded before the rats were injured. The results were presented during a nanosymposium at the 39th annual meeting of the Society of Neuroscience.

For four weeks, half of the rats received daily training on the robotic trainer and half did not. At the end of each training week, and two weeks after completion of the full training program, walking performance of all animals was measured. After four weeks of training, trained animals had shorter stride lengths than the non-trained animals both within the device as well as overground.

"Our results show that increasing activity using a precise and repeatable physiologically relevant training pattern can modify overground ," says Nathan D. Neckel, PhD, a post-doctoral fellow in the department of neuroscience. "These findings suggest that more accurate and precise exercises in the human physical therapy clinic may lead to the restoration of function in everyday tasks."

Source: Georgetown University Medical Center (news : web)

Explore further: Early cerebellum injury hinders neural development, possible root of autism

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Stroke survivors walk better after human-assisted rehab

May 08, 2008

Walking therapy for stroke survivors is significantly more effective when conducted by a physical therapist instead of a robot, according a small study reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Recommended for you

Surprising new role for calcium in sensing pain

8 hours ago

When you accidentally touch a hot oven, you rapidly pull your hand away. Although scientists know the basic neural circuits involved in sensing and responding to such painful stimuli, they are still sorting ...

Neurons in human skin perform advanced calculations

Sep 01, 2014

Neurons in human skin perform advanced calculations, previously believed that only the brain could perform. This is according to a study from UmeƄ University in Sweden published in the journal Nature Ne ...

Memory in silent neurons

Aug 31, 2014

When we learn, we associate a sensory experience either with other stimuli or with a certain type of behavior. The neurons in the cerebral cortex that transmit the information modify the synaptic connections ...

User comments : 0