Sunday, July 22, 2012

Study Results

Last week Debbie and I went to ICORD for a presentation of the results of the trunk muscle function study I took part in a while ago (part I, part II, part III). The researchers used a study group of 14 people with spinal cord injuries and a control group of 15 able-bodied people. Interestingly, almost all of the SCI subjects had some control of some of their abdominal muscles, and all of the SCI subjects had some level of electromyography (EMG) activity in at least one abdominal muscle. However, the ultrasound testing showed that the SCI group had thinner abdominal muscles than the able-bodied group, and the thickness changed very little during the exercises - in the able-bodied group, the muscle thickness grew significantly). What this means is that even with a complete spinal cord injury, there are still pathways from the brain to the abdominal muscles and some voluntary activity is preserved. The results have given the researchers some direction for future studies, which will focus on how exercising can improve function - it was noted that most of the SCI subjects do some type of regular exercise (yoga was mentioned) that activates the abdominal muscles. They will also try to quantify the improvement in function from that activity. It was interesting to see the results, and it was also nice to have some verification that the yoga I've been doing does make a difference.


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