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Review
, 34 (9), 1813-1825

Supraspinal Control Predicts Locomotor Function and Forecasts Responsiveness to Training After Spinal Cord Injury

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Review

Supraspinal Control Predicts Locomotor Function and Forecasts Responsiveness to Training After Spinal Cord Injury

Edelle C Field-Fote et al. J Neurotrauma.

Abstract

Restoration of walking ability is an area of great interest in the rehabilitation of persons with spinal cord injury. Because many cortical, subcortical, and spinal neural centers contribute to locomotor function, it is important that intervention strategies be designed to target neural elements at all levels of the neuraxis that are important for walking ability. While to date most strategies have focused on activation of spinal circuits, more recent studies are investigating the value of engaging supraspinal circuits. Despite the apparent potential of pharmacological, biological, and genetic approaches, as yet none has proved more effective than physical therapeutic rehabilitation strategies. By making optimal use of the potential of the nervous system to respond to training, strategies can be developed that meet the unique needs of each person. To complement the development of optimal training interventions, it is valuable to have the ability to predict future walking function based on early clinical presentation, and to forecast responsiveness to training. A number of clinical prediction rules and association models based on common clinical measures have been developed with the intent, respectively, to predict future walking function based on early clinical presentation, and to delineate characteristics associated with responsiveness to training. Further, a number of variables that are correlated with walking function have been identified. Not surprisingly, most of these prediction rules, association models, and correlated variables incorporate measures of volitional lower extremity strength, illustrating the important influence of supraspinal centers in the production of walking behavior in humans.

Keywords: human studies; locomotor function; outcome measures; recovery; rehabilitation.

Conflict of interest statement

No competing financial interests exist.

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