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Student Participation in Research at Hospital for Special Care

Students were involved in two research projects recently completed at the Hospital for Special Care under the guidance of their faculty advisors Catherine Certo and Kevin Ball and Hospital for Special Care Physical Therapist, Noelle Kisela.

FES Rehabilitation of a Person with an Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury: ICARE Case Study
Faculty Advisors: Noelle Kisela, Catherine Certo, Kevin Ball
Students:
(pictured left to right) Scott Chase, Mat Medeiros, Dana Silbert, Victoria DePietro, Elizabeth Allen, Katie Miles, Jenna DiGirolamo, Gina LaPenta

Research Group - Hospital For Special CareThe loss of motor function associated with Spinal cord Injury (SCI) often produces severe limitations on mobility and self care. Chronic incomplete SCI (iSCI) is defined as incomplete lesions to the spinal cord having occurred at least 12 months prior. Over the past decade, body weight support treadmill training (BWSTT) has emerged as a promising method for improving functional ambulation after SCI, however where therapist provided manual advancement of the extremities can provide sensory cues, it does not always facilitate muscle contraction.  Electrical stimulation such as Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) is a modality that can create an isolated muscle contraction. FES has been used to generate purposeful contractions of paralyzed muscles, thereby enabling functional activities such as standing and stepping. It is suggested that FES offers therapeutic benefits such as decreasing muscle spasm, retaining neurological functions and returning reflexes closer to the normal physiological state. With respect to gait, the use of FES for assistance with limb advancement may offer advantages over BWSTT alone. This study evaluates the response of a single case subject to BWSTT with FES. With respect to the specific muscles that receive FES during training it is hypothesized that the patient will demonstrate functional gait and balance improvements, technology unassisted.

Title: The Effects of Locomotor Training on Gait and Balance in an Adult with Chronic Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury: A Pilot Study
Faculty Advisors: Noelle Kisela, Catherine Certo, Kevin Ball
Students: (pictured left to right)
Kathryn Lewicki, Helen Sweeney, Bianca Ferrante, Katelyn Hamel, Dana Cohen

Research Group - Hospital for Special CareUnder the direct supervision of physical therapist Noelle Kisela from Hospital for Special Care, students conducted research on the locomotor training of one patient with Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury. The protocol to be examined was a combination of the research done by the Neuro Recovery Network (NRN). The NRN prescribes locomotor training five times a week, whereas the current protocol will examine training three times a week for 90 minute sessions. This research project examined if locomotor training at a lesser frequency (more practical in most physical therapy clinics) produced comparable outcomes to the NRN protocol in measurements of balance, mobility, and patient confidence/satisfaction.