Superman Foundation Supports Rehabilitation for SCI Patients

The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation (The actor who played Superman and his wife and who suffered from a
severe spinal cord injury as a result of falling from a horse) has provided support through its national network of activity-based rehabilitation centers for spinal cord injury  for treatments in conjunction with research conducted by the University of Louisville, Kentucky.
 It was announced on  Sept. 5, 2012 that research studies from teams headed by a University of Louisville/Frazier Rehab Institute neuroscientist that innovative rehabilitation treatments for patients with spinal cord injuries (SCI) can lead to significant functional improvements  and a higher quality of life.
Studies published in the  September issue of  “Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation” show that creating a network of rehab centers for SCI that standardizes treatment can bring significant functional improvements for chronically injured patients. Another study published in the September issue of  ”Journal of Neurological Physical Therapy” showed that expenses associated with home renovations, equipment, and transportation actually decreased by almost 25 percent for  patients with motor incomplete SCI due to the function gained following intensive locomotor training intervention. The findings suggest that a shift in both protocol and policy is necessary to standardize rehabilitation across multiple centers.
The Neuro Rehabilitation Network (NRN) was established by the Reeves Foundation and is funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Locomotor training is an intensive, activity-based intervention therapy that attempts to re-train the nervous system by simulating stepping and walking for those with spinal cord injuries.
“These results support the concept that there exists an intrinsic capacity of the human spinal cord circuitry that responds to task-specific sensory cues that can result in recovery in walking,” said NRN director Harkema. Understanding the capacity for recovery and standardizing locomotor protocols are very important in finding out what the outcomes of future studies will be for SCI patients.
Even if the patient has been injured for a length of time locomotor training is beneficial. There is now evidence that standardized rehabilitation can result in positive patient recovery according to the vice president of research of the Reeves Foundation, Susan Howley. She adds that the studies show that rehabilitation is definately part of the repair process.
Locomotor training is used for people not only with brain and spinal cord injury but also stroke and other neurological disorders. Many SCI patients using locomotor training in German, Canadian, Swiss and American clinics have improved their ability to walk.
Locomotor training consists of  A- step training using body weight support on a treadmill (BWST) and manual assistance; B-over-ground walking training; and C-community ambulation training. Information from the legs and trunk while walking is constantly sent to the spinal cord using BWST. The therapist makes sure that the patient is optimizing standing and walking.  As the patient improves, the assistance of the therapist is reduced.
In line with the rehabilitation protocol mentioned above for SCI patients it should be noted that the most effective physical therapy solutions will be those that allow for an intensive exercise program. Such products can be found in the TUTOR system.
The TUTORs  have shown much success in rehabilitation of joint movement. The recently developed TUTORs consist of ergonomic wearable devices. The HANDTUTOR is a glove for hand therapy and the ARMTUTOR is an arm brace for elbow and shoulder rehabilitation. The LEGTUTOR is a leg brace for leg and hip. The system is indicated for patients who have suffered TBI, a stroke, SCI, CP, MS, Parkinson’s disease and other mobility restraining illnesses. It is used by occupational therapists and physiotherapists in rehabilitation centers, private clinics and in the home where it can be supported by telerehabilitation. It is designed for those who have head, trunk, upper and lower extremity movement dysfunction.
The accompanying software system consists of motivating and challenging games that encourage the patient to practice isolated and/or interjoint coordination exercises.  The dedicated rehabilitation software allows the physical and occupational therapist to fully customize the exercises to the patient’s movement ability. In addition, the OT and PT can make objective  reports on their patient’s progress. Rehabilitation aims to optimize the patient’s motor, sensory and cognitive performance and allows the patient to better perform everyday functional tasks to improve their quality of life. The TUTORS are certified by the FDA and CE.
See WWW.MEDITOUCH.CO.IL for more information.

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