More MS news articles for July 2001

Treadmill and Cycle Training Appear to Benefit Patients With Spinal Cord Injury

WESTPORT, CT (Reuters Health) Jul 20 - For patients with spinal cord injury, treadmill and cycle training appear to increase walking ability and blood flow to paralyzed legs.

In the first of three related studies reported in the June issue of Archives of Physical Medical Rehabilitation, Dr. Edelle C. Field-Fote, from the University of Miami, assigned 19 patients with chronic incomplete spinal cord injury to body-weight-supported treadmill walking 1.5 hours per day, 3 days per week, for 3 months. Their walking was assisted by electric stimulation to the common peroneal nerve of the weaker leg.

During the training period, Dr. Field-Fote reports, there were significant increases in overground walking speed (p = 0.0008), treadmill walking speed (p = 0.00003) and treadmill walking distance (p = 0.000001). Furthermore, the median lower extremity motor score increased significantly in both the stimulated and unstimulated leg.

Separately, in a 12-week pilot study, Dr. Elizabeth J. Protas, from Texas Woman's University in Houston, and colleagues evaluated three patients with chronic incomplete spinal cord injury as they walked on a treadmill while supported by a harness and a pneumatic suspension device.

Initially, the support was 40% of body weight and the treadmill speed was 0.16 kmph. Over each 1-hour training period, the support was decreased as treadmill speed and walking time increased. The training was given 5 days a week for 3 months. Gait speed and gait endurance increased significantly in all three patients, the researchers report, and oxygen cost decreased significantly (p < 0.05).

The third study involved nine men with spinal cord lesions who underwent 6 weeks of cycling using a computer-controlled leg cycle ergometer with electric stimulation. Dr. Hendrika L. Gerrits, from Vrije University, Amsterdam, and colleagues measured significant increases in diameter (p < 0.01), peak systolic inflow volume (p < 0.01) and mean inflow volume (p < 0.05) in the femoral arteries.

Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2001;82:818-839.

Copyright © 2001 Reuters Ltd