Spinal cord injury (SCI) disrupts the communication between the brain and the spinal cord. Rehabilitation methods have focused on promoting activity-dependent plasticity through high intensity, high repetition training programmes. There is a marked increase of elderly patients with SCI because of an increase in life expectancy. This form of rehabilitation is problematic and researchers are investigating novel treatment methods. Neural plasticity has been observed following intermittent hypoxia (IH) in respiratory and non-respiratory neurons. Only a single treatment showed a significant improvement in lower limb function. The study investigated if the conduction and excitability within ascending spinal tracts are influenced by IH. To assess this an electrical stimulus was delivered at the median or tibial nerve for 4 minutes. Three recordings were taken before, during and following the treatment. This creates somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) that were recorded using scalp electrodes. Nine healthy adults (21-35 yrs.) were exposed to the IH treatment which involves one-minute sessions of repeated exposures of hypoxic (FIo2= 0.09) and normoxic (FIo2= 0.21) air for 30 minutes.The oxygen saturation level (SpO2) did not drop below 96.6%. This indicated that for the subjects tested the IH treatment failed to produce the marked reduction in the O2 saturation that was observed in spinal cord injured patients. This explains why there was no significant difference in the peak to peak amplitude of the SEPs when comparing the values before with during and after IH (p>0.05; two-tailed paired t-test). Furthermore, the heart rate and blood pressure were monitored and since the SpO2 level did not drop as low as 81% there was no significant change in blood pressure and heart rate following the treatment (p>0.05; two-tailed paired t-test). Under the circumstances that the protocol was not effective we can conclude that it provides a way of creating a sham condition.
|Date of Award||1 Sep 2017|
- University Of Strathclyde
|Sponsors||University of Strathclyde|