High doses of 'load' slows loss of bone in spinal cord injury
February 16, 2012 in Health



A new clinical trial conducted by University of Iowa researchers shows that delivering high doses of "load," or stress, to bone through programmed electrical stimulation of the muscle significantly slows the loss of bone density in patients with spinal cord injury. The image shows UI physical therapy researcher Richard Shields and graduate research assistant Natalia Lawson demonstrating the specially modified wheelchair and muscle stimulation apparatus used by the study participants. Credit: University of Iowa Health Care

A new clinical trial conducted by University of Iowa researchers shows that delivering high doses of "load," or stress, to bone through programmed electrical stimulation of the muscle significantly slows the loss of bone density in patients with SCI.

The focus on quantifying the effective dose of load is one of the study's most important aspects, says Richard Shields, P.T., Ph.D., a professor and director of the UI Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science Graduate Programs. The study also is the first to carefully test the impact of different doses of load in humans with paralysis.

Previous research had suggested that stressing or loading bone through muscle contractions could slow the loss of bone density, but results from clinical trials have been mixed.

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