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The combined effects of clonidine and cyproheptadine with interactive training on the modulation of locomotion in spinal cord injured subjects.

Author(s): Fung J, Stewart JE, Barbeau H

Affiliation(s): School of Physical & Occupational Therapy, McGill University, Montreal,Quebec, Canada.

Publication date & source: 1990-12, J Neurol Sci., 100(1-2):85-93.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

The combined effects of a noradrenergic agonist, clonidine, and a serotonergic antagonist, cyproheptadine, together with an interactive locomotor training program incorporating progressive body weight support and treadmill walking exercise, were investigated in two chronic spinal cord injured subjects. Both subjects had no independent locomotor ability due to severe spasticity. Kinematic, temporal distance and electromyographic (EMG) data were collected during treadmill walking. The EMG activity of the lower limb muscles, initially characterized by tonic discharge and abnormal timing, became more phasic with less clonus following medication, which was related to a change in the kinematic pattern. Further kinematic and functional improvement were gained by training. Previously wheelchair-bound, both patients became functionally ambulatory overground with the aid of Canadian crutches. Thus, a potentially effective strategy for facilitating the expression of the locomotor pattern following spinal cord injury is proposed. This preliminary study showed that such a treatment strategy could possibly lead to a recovery of locomotor function in some chronic, wheelchair-bound spinal cord injured patients who had previously been stabilized on conventional therapies.

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