Evaluating functional performance of spinal cord injury (SCI) rat models is essential for the development of novel treatments and breakthroughs. However, due to the variety of functional analysis methods available - each with its own strengths and weaknesses - it can be challenging to choose the most appropriate functional analysis test for the animal model. Therefore, we analyzed the strengths and weaknesses of five methods in order to determine which test is not only accurate and easily reproducible, but also relatively inexpensive so that it can be adopted universally. When comparing the Basso, Beattie, and Bresnahan (BBB) test, Ladder walking test, CatWalk test, Rotating Rod test, Microsoft Kinect system and VICON, we used the criteria of sensitivity, quality of data generated, statistical analysis of data, and rate of human error. These specific tests were chosen in order to compare the advantages and disadvantages of simple yet effective methods (BBB, Ladder test, and Rotating Rod test) to more complex and computerized methods (Catwalk, Microsoft Kinect and VICON).
Keywords: BBB scale; CatWalk; Functional gait analysis; Ladder test; Spinal cord injury; VICON.
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