Exploring Upper Limb Dysfunction After Spinal Cord Injury

Author: Kessler Foundation
Published: 2018/03/18
Peer-Reviewed: N/A
Contents: Summary - Main - Related Publications

Synopsis: A five-year grant from National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research funds multi-site study of intermittent hypoxia in spinal cord injury.

Kessler Foundation has been awarded an $857,600 sub-award from the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living, National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), to study a promising new intervention for upper limb dysfunction after spinal cord injury (SCI).

Main Digest

Kessler Foundation has been awarded an $857,600 sub-award from the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living, National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), to study a promising new intervention for upper limb dysfunction after spinal cord injury (SCI).

The study, "A Multi-Center Clinical Trial to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Intermittent Hypoxia Therapy in Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)," is being conducted by an experienced team of scientists and clinicians at three leading SCI rehabilitation institutions:

The total awarded for the five-year federal grant is $4.5 million.

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Dr. Gail Forrest, principal investigator, is associate director of Human Performance and Engineering Research at Kessler Foundation - Photo Credit: Kessler Foundation.
Dr. Gail Forrest, principal investigator, is associate director of Human Performance and Engineering Research at Kessler Foundation - Photo Credit: Kessler Foundation.
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Acute intermittent hypoxia (AIH) is a new strategy that may have the potential to increase neuroplasticity in individuals with injuries of the spinal cord. Scientists plan to test whether repetitive administration of AIH can result in better hand and arm function in individuals with incomplete cervical SCI.

"This is an exciting project that may change the way we think about rehabilitation for spinal cord injury," said Dr. Kirshblum, senior medical officer and chief of SCI Rehabilitation at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation.

"AIH stimulates the synthesis and release of specific spinal proteins that increase neural plasticity and improve muscle contractions. This effect could augment the results we achieve with traditional rehabilitation therapies."

AIH therapy consists of low-oxygen treatments administered via facemask, according to Dr. Forrest, associate director of Human Performance and Engineering Research at Kessler Foundation.

"We will evaluate AIH alone, and in combination with conventional treatments," explained Dr. Forrest, "including task-specific traditional training, and training with a sensorized robotic device (RAPAEL Smart Glove). We anticipate that combination protocols with AIH will produce better outcomes than conventional therapies alone."

Improving upper limb function in this population could have broader implications, such as increased participation in work and social and community activities.

Funding: NIDILRR grant award number is 90SIMS0001

Attribution/Source(s):

This quality-reviewed publication pertaining to our Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) section was selected for circulation by the editors of Disabled World due to its likely interest to our disability community readers. Though the content may have been edited for style, clarity, or length, the article "Exploring Upper Limb Dysfunction After Spinal Cord Injury" was originally written by Kessler Foundation, and submitted for publishing on 2018/03/18. Should you require further information or clarification, Kessler Foundation can be contacted at kesslerfoundation.org. Disabled World makes no warranties or representations in connection therewith.

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