Innovative Treatments for Spinal Cord Injury Patients

Innovative treatments are needed for individuals with spinal cord injuries (SCI) and can lead to significant functional improvements in patients as well as  give them a higher quality of life according to Sue Ann Sisto, PT, MA, PhD, Professor of Physical Therapy, Research Director, Division of Rehabilitation Sciences, Director of the Rehabilitation Research and Movement Performance (RRAMP) Laboratory,Stony Brook University School of Health Technology and Management (SHTM),
Studies published in the September 2012 issue of  “Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation” show that innovative treatments for individuals with SCI can lead to several  functional improvements in patients and also a  higher quality of life. Dr. Sisto says the findings suggest that a shift in both protocol and policy is needed  to advance and standardize rehabilitation  for patients with SCI.
“These studies provide  evidence from many 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,” according to Dr. Sisto.
While most  of the studies evaluate activity-based rehabilitative practices involving the assessment and the improvement of patients’  neurological or motor functioning, other studies evaluate patients’ overall health status. For example, researchers concluded ( in “Cardiovascular Status of Individuals with Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury from 7 NeuroRecovery Network Rehabilitation Centers,”) that a patient’s resting blood pressure and heart rate are affected by  age, body position, and neurological level. They also found that  one-fifth of patients had a quick drop in blood pressure because of a sudden position change from lying down to sitting up.
Dr. Sisto says that practices like locomotor training, which consists of activities involving step training using body support on a treadmill, and with manual assistance, are valuable and show great promise for motor improvement in chronic spinal cord injury patients. New computer and other technologies, she says, are also helping to improve physical therapy and rehabilitation practices for patients, as well as help professionals more effectively chart patient progress.
One of the innovative treatments as is recommended, is a physical therapy solution that is already in use in many leading U.S. and European rehabilitation centers and clinics. Referred to as the TUTOR system the devices are ergonomically designed gloves and braces placed on various affected limbs and then with sensors are connected to dedicated software. The software consists of specially designed games that allow the SCI patient to exercise his hand, wrist, elbow, leg, knee or any other affected limb. Also usable by patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease, MS, CP, stroke, brain injury or other upper or lower limb immobilities the HANDTUTOR, ARMTUTOR, LEGTUTOR and 3DTUTOR are physical therapy products that are monitored by therapists who then design a customized exercise program for that patient.
The TUTORs are fully certified by the FDA and CE and can be used by adults as well as children from the age of 5. Patients having logistical difficulty or a desire to conduct their rehabilitation from home can do so through telerehabilitation.
See WWW.MEDITOUCH.CO.IL for further information.



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