Pediatric center to offer novel rehabilitation approach for spinal cord injury

d then modified for children. The new Center's interdisciplinary staff specializes in tailoring treatment plans for children's unique physical, developmental, educational and social needs.

"Our clinical approaches have shown that function in individuals who are paralyzed can actually be restored through patterned physical activity such as cycling or walking movements," said Dr. John McDonald, Director of the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury. "Expanding this research through a world-class organization like Kennedy Krieger helps realize the dream of improving the lives of children around the world who have spinal cord injury and paralysis."

Advanced restoration therapies use methods such as functional electric stimulation (FES) to help patients with paralysis "exercise" muscles through activities such as riding a specially equipped bicycle with the help of computer-driven electrical impulses. Studies have proven that such activity improves patients' quality of life by promoting overall physical integrity: improving cardiovascular health; preventing skin breakdown; and reducing the incidence of osteoporosis, scoliosis and other skeletal disorders. These therapies are now being studied for their potential in helping individuals recover neurological function such as sensation and movement.

Early in Reeve's treatment, many scientists were skeptical about these methods, calling his recovery of sensation and movement a near miracle or scientific anomaly. But as additional cases have verified the positive effects of these methods in other patients, scientists across the world are reconsidering their assumption that recovery from a spinal cord injury is impossible once two years have passed.

"Kennedy Krieger's expertise in pediatric neurological disorders makes it an ideal institution for this promising approach to helping children with spinal cord injuries," said Gary Goldstein, President and CEO of Kennedy Krieger Institu

Contact: Colleen O'Malley
202-955-6222 x2581
Kennedy Krieger Institute

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