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VA Palo Alto Health Care System

 

Current Research Studies

Exoskeletal-Assisted Walking in Persons with SCI: Impact on Quality of Life

This multi-site project will evaluate home and/or community use of a powered exoskeleton for ambulation in spinal cord injured Veterans whose primary mobility is in a wheelchair. The findings of this study will help inform how changes in mobility can possibly impact quality of life, changes in body composition and the safety of home/community use of powered exoskeleton technology.

 

 


Health Benefits and Risks of Indoor Rock Climbing Among People with Spinal Cord Injury

We will explore acceptability, adherence, safety, and physical and mental outcomes of the two forms of adapted indoor rock climbing among individuals with spinal cord injury to better inform both providers and athletes. Veterans, non-Veterans, injured, and non-injured participants will work together in a partnership-based climbing program with the goal of promoting health and community integration while maintaining a safe environment.

 

 


FES Rowing and Bone Health in the Lower Limbs after Spinal Cord Injury

The goal of this research study is to determine whether an indoor rowing exercise program with functional electrical stimulation (FES) of the thigh muscles can preserve bone health after spinal cord injury (SCI). FES rowing is accomplished by placing small surface electrode pads on the skin on the front and back thigh muscles. If the FES rowing exercise program is able to prevent bone loss after SCI, with additional research, FES rowing may become a viable rehabilitation strategy to reduce the risk of non-traumatic fracture for individuals with SCI.


Evaluating Upper Limb Motor Control After Tendon Transfer

The goal of this project is to evaluate the effectiveness of a task-based home therapy program and training-related changes in motor control to improve the functional outcome of tendon transfer surgery to restore pinch. This is a novel therapeutic program to restore and optimize strength for persons who elect to have this procedure.


Reducing Incontinence with Pacemaker Technology

This project will investigate using a pacemaker not only for emptying the bladder but also for reducing incontinence. Tests will involve measuring bladder function in the SCI population using electrical stimulation applied to the skin. If the technique is effective, subsequent testing of stimulation using needles or an implanted pacemaker will be pursued.

 


Longitudinal Assessment of Bone Loss with Chronic Spinal Cord Injury

This project documents long-term effects of chronic immobilization and paralysis on skeletal health by following patients up to 20 years using a prospective design. We hope to establish normative data for a large population of individuals with SCI, including information on dietary and activity patterns and potential effects of other medical problems. Results will help with better prediction of bone fracture risk and may identify contributing factors.


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