Locomotor step training with body weight support improves respiratory motor function in individuals with chronic spinal cord injury

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Reference Type:
Journal Article
Accession No.:
Respiratory Physiology and Neurobiology
Year, Volume, Issue, Page(s):
2013, vol. 189, issue 3, pp 491-497
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Study investigated the extent to which manually assisted locomotor training (LT) with body weight supported treadmill stepping can change respiratory function in individuals with chronic spinal cord injury (SCI). Surface electromyographic (sEMG) measures of respiratory muscles activity during respiratory tasks were obtained from 8 individuals with chronic SCI before and after approximately 62 sessions of the LT. Standard spirometry testing performed before and after LT was used to measure the following pulmonary function outcomes: forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume one second (FEV1), maximum inspiratory pressure (PImax), and maximum expiratory pressure (PEmax). Results showed that FVC, FEV1, PImax, PEmax, amount of overall sEMG activity, and rate of motor unit recruitment were significantly increased after LT. These results suggest that these improvements induced by the LT are likely the result of neuroplastic changes in spinal neural circuitry responsible for the activation of respiratory muscles preserved after injury.
Ovechkin AV, Terson de Paleville D, Harkema SJ, Aslan SC, Stephens DP, McKay WB
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