Pitt Researchers Presenting Brain Injury, Spinal Cord Injury, Mobility Research at American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Annual Meeting
PITTSBURGH, Sept. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Breakthroughs in rehabilitation research continue to provide an opportunity to achieve healthier, more active lives for the estimated 35 million persons living with some degree of disability in the United States.

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh's department of physical medicine and rehabilitation, which houses some of the nation's top experts in rehabilitation research and clinical care, will gather at the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPM&R) Annual Assembly, taking place from Sept. 13-16 at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside. Their presentations involve findings on traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and wheelchair mobility.


Pharmacology for Sleep Disorders: Special Needs and Concerns for the Acquired Brain Injury Population

Ross Zafonte, D.O., chair of the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Pittsburgh, will present a session on sleep disturbances after acquired brain injury. A clinically based approach to the evaluation and administration of sleep enhancing drugs after an acquired brain injury will be presented to psychiatrists at the session.


The Diagnosis and Management of Fatigue in the Patient with Acquired Brain Injury

Dr. Zafonte will present different components of fatigue in this session, including the difference between subjective symptoms of fatigue and behavioral performance deficits.

Predictors of Acute Hospitalization Length of Stay for People with Traumatic Brain Injury

Amy Wagner, M.D., an instructor in the University of Pittsburgh department of physical medicine and rehabilitation, followed 1,866 men and women hospitalized with traumatic brain injury (TBI) to determine significant predictors of acute care length of stay. She concluded that acute hospital stay after TBI is predicted by acute variables from a variety of domains including demographics, injury severity, hospital course and health care service delivery.

The Effect of PM&R Consultation on Acute Functional Outcome After Traumatic Brain Injury

Dr. Wagner and her team followed 536 adults hospitalized with TBI to determine the effect of physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) consultation on acute functional outcome. The conclusion was that early PM&R consultation positively affects acute functional outcome after hospitalization for TBI.

Relationship of Age to Acute Functional Outcome after Traumatic Brain Injury

Dr. Wagner followed 1,866 adults hospitalized with TBI to determine the relationship of age on acute functional outcome after TBI. She concluded that older age is associated with poorer acute functional outcomes.

Gender Associations with Acute Functional Outcome after Traumatic Brain Injury

Dr. Wagner used the same 1,866 cohort to determine the relationship of gender on measures of acute functional outcome after hospitalization with TBI. She concluded that females have poorer outcome with motor-based function after hospitalization with TBI.

Evoked Potential Assessment of the Minimally Conscious Patient

Gary Goldberg, M.D., visiting associate professor and director of traumatic brain injury rehabilitation will review electrodiagnostic laboratory methods in assessing the reactivity of the central nervous system in the minimally conscious patient with diffuse brain injury.

Spinal Cord Injury

John Horton, III, M.D., assistant professor and director, spinal cord injury (SCI) rehabilitation in the University of Pittsburgh's department of physical medicine and rehabilitation, will discuss opportunities for wheelchair athletes, from recreation to Olympics, and on the technology used and the evolution over the past few decades.

Dopaminergic Systems after Traumatic Brain Injury: Bench to Bedside Dr. Zafonte, Dr. Wagner, Dr. Goldberg and Edward Dixon, Ph.D., associate professor of neurological surgery, will present a session covering recent and ongoing basic science research and theories regarding the acute and chronic effects of head trauma on dopaminergic systems. Relevant case histories illustrating the use and effectiveness of specific drugs will be presented.


Biomechanical and Functional Assessment of Muscle Fatigue in Total Hip Arthroplasty

Michael C. Munin, M.D., assistant professor, director inpatient services and director, spine specialty center and Gina E. Bertocci, Ph.D., assistant professor and director, injury risk assessment and prevention laboratory of the University of Pittsburgh's School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, investigated muscle fatigue in patients who had total hip replacements. As a means of evaluating rehabilitation status and functional capability, patients were evaluated during exercise. The assessment concluded that rehabilitation may not be restoring hip replacement patients to a physical level of similarly aged healthy individuals.

Wheelchair Abilities: A Hierarchy of Evaluation Methodologies
Michael Boninger, M.D., associate professor and research director and Rory

Cooper, Ph.D., professor chair of rehabilitation science and technology and
director, Human Engineering Research Laboratories, will present a talk on
evaluating metholodologies for evaluating wheelchair abilities. Methods to
evaluate wheelchairs themselves will be covered, along with skill testing of
individual wheelchair users.
Utility of Laryngeal Electromyography in Determining Recovery After Vocal Fold Paralysis

Dr. Munin and Dr. Bertocci studied 29 patients with vocal fold paralysis to determine the value of laryngeal EMG in predicting recovery. The absence of motor unit recruitment combined with the signs of denervation accurately predicts poor functional return after vocal fold paralysis, while the presence of good motor unit recruitment does correlate with the return of local fold motion, but not as strongly.

CONTACT: Alan Aldinger, AldiAL@msx.upmc.edu, or Frank Raczkiewicz, RaczkiewiczFA@msx.upmc.edu, or +1-412-624-2607, or fax: +1-412-624-3184, both of UPMC.

SOURCE: UPMC Health System

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