Spinal Cord Injury Exercise Research


Individuals with spinal cord injuries (SCI) face a number of barriers that prevent successful and effective exercise. At the core of the problem is a lack of understanding and appreciation for the unique exercise requirements and challenges faced by individuals with spinal cord injury. The overall objective of Spinal Cord Injury Exercise Research is to help people with SCI to engage in safe and effective exercise programs. Specifically, we are studying how to improve exercise devices so that individuals with SCI will not only be able to use them effectively but will also be motivated to use them regularly. The project is part of a federally-funded grant from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). The Cal State LA project is one of six projects that comprise a Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center grant awarded to Rancho Los Amigos in November 2002.  The title of the project is "Keep Moving:  Technologies to Enhance Mobility and Function for Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury" and involves investigators from Rancho Los Amigos, Cal State LA, UC Irvine and UCLA.




Currently, the  participants in our project are helping us to study the use of standing frames (EZ Glide 5000), hand cycles (Active Passive Trainer and Vita Glide), leg cycles, and adapted weight training devices such as the Bowflex Versatrainer and the Uppertone. In addition, some participants undergo body weight supported treadmill training (see this video link). This form of gait training that has been shown to be effective in improving locomotor recovery following complete and incomplete spinal cord injury. The participants work out with the help of SCIER student fellows who have been specially-trained to perform the exercises and use the equipment. At the end of the project, participants give us feedback about the exercise equipment and how to increase their motivation to exercise so that we can develop new devices that will facilitate exercises for individuals with SCI. This feedback will be reported to the manufacturers of these devices so that hopefully, they will consider improving their exercise equipment so that it is safer and more effective for the SCI user.





Contact info and Location

We are looking for participants with SCI to help us in our study.  Our flier may be found by clicking on the following link:  SCI study flier. If you or someone you know would like to participate in the study, please contact Mr. Artin Davidian (323 343-5328) or Ms. Suzanne Montague (323 343-6577).  All of the research takes place on the campus of Cal State LA, in the Student Health center basement, Room 10 and in the Physical Education Building, Room 38. If you are a Cal State LA student and wish to become a fellow or to just get involved in the research, please contact one of the investigators, Dr. Ray de Leon (rdeleon@calstatela.edu), or Dr. Tamar Semerjiam (tsemerj@calstatela.edu).