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Improving Urogenital Function with Step Training after Spinal Cord Injury

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Technical Report,30 Sep 2015,29 Sep 2016

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University of Louisville Louisville United States

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Surveys of individuals with spinal cord injury SCI reveal that bladder and sexual dysfunction are among the highest priorities after injury, yet few studies are being done. Our study uses a clinically relevant chronic SCI animal model that is geared toward improving bladder and sexual function post-SCI and thus will promote overall health, independence and self-image. Current attempts at treatments with various drugs and surgeries have unwanted side effects and limited success. Our goal is to provide therapeutic alternatives using body weight supported treadmill training in combination with neurostimulation. We have clinical data from several human SCI study participants that step training can have beneficial outcomes on bladder maintenance, including polyuria over-production of urine resulting in the need to awaken multiple times during the night to catheterize, as well as erectile function. We envision a therapeutic intervention involving a complement of neurostimulation, drug treatment and some form of at home stepping exercise, as most SCI patients do not have easy access to trained therapists on a daily basis. Thus, the current study examines the effects of locomotor training on bladder and sexual function in a clinically relevant animal model to identify the mechanisms involved. Each part of this study is specifically designed to be applicable to the SCI patient with the intent of taking the results back to the clinical setting SCI individuals for our human studies are recruited from the Frazier Rehabilitation Institute patient base in collaboration with clinical faculty in the Department of Urology at the University of Louisville School of Medicine.

Subject Categories:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Medicine and Medical Research

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