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Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2005 Dec;19(4):313-24.

Changes in supraspinal activation patterns following robotic locomotor therapy in motor-incomplete spinal cord injury.

Author information

1
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Department of Physical Therapy, Dallas, TX 75390-8876, USA. patricia.winchester@utsouthwestern.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Body weight-supported treadmill training (BWSTT) is a task-specific rehabilitation strategy that enhances functional locomotion in patients following spinal cord injury (SCI). Supraspinal centers may play an important role in the recovery of over-ground locomotor function in patients with motor-incomplete SCI. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the potential for supraspinal reorganization associated with 12 weeks of robotic BWSTT using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

METHODS:

Four men with motor-incomplete SCI participated in this study. Time since onset ranged from 14 weeks to 48 months post-SCI injury. All subjects were trained with BWSTT 3 times weekly for 12 weeks. This training was preceded and followed by fMRI study of supraspinal activity during a movement task. Testing of locomotor disability included the Walking Index for Spinal Cord Injury (WISCI II) and over-ground gait speed.

RESULTS:

All subjects demonstrated some degree of change in the blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) signal following BWSTT. fMRI results demonstrated greater activation in sensorimotor cortical regions (S1, S2) and cerebellar regions following BWSTT.

CONCLUSIONS:

Intensive task-specific rehabilitative training, such as robotic BWSTT, can promote supraspinal plasticity in the motor centers known to be involved in locomotion. Furthermore, improvement in over-ground locomotion is accompanied by an increased activation of the cerebellum.

Comment in

PMID:
16263963
DOI:
10.1177/1545968305281515
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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