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2008 HSR&D National Meeting Abstract

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National Meeting 2008

2009 — Emerging Therapies and Technologies in Brain Rehabilitation

Gonzalez-Rothi L (RR&D Brain Rehabilitation Research Center of Excellence)

Workshop Objectives:
Rehabilitation researchers from the Brain Rehabilitation Research Center will overview exciting emerging therapies and technologies in brain rehabilitation that have direct applicability to health issues that VA will face in the coming years, particularly in age-related and war-related disability.

Activities:
RR&D investigators will overview new advances in the areas of gait and locomotion, oral motor function, and upper extremity function. Gait and Locomotion: Evidence for plasticity in the central nervous system after injury and relative to engagement in task-specific activity has shifted from compensation for impairments to the possibility of recovery of function. New technologies, in the realm of robotics, have been advanced to afford the intense practice associated with such training. The focus of this presentation is on the application of principles of plasticity and the neurobiology of walking to the development of a walking recovery intervention. Additionally, the concepts of clinical decision-making for using a myriad of strategies and modalities will be introduced. Oral Motor Function: The force generated by the inspiratory and expiratory muscles develops the appropriate alveolar pressure for both biological and non-biological functions. The magnitude of strength gained with inspiratory and expiratory muscle strength training has implications for neurological and neurodegenerative diseases. Discussion of treatment dosage and patterns of strength gain/loss will be discussed and is seen as informative for future users of the program. Findings from transcranial magnetic stimulation studies highlight the importance of this research to accelerate the acquisition of the neurobiological and behavioral evidence needed to convince both clinical and basic science communities of the potentially legitimate breathing, vocalization, swallowing, and cough functions. Upper Extremity: The current challenge for neurorehabilitation involves design of effective therapeutic interventions that provide appropriate and sufficient experience to drive neural plasticity following central nervous system injury that promotes meaningful and lasting functional improvement. Functional upper-extremity recovery is a primary rehabilitation goal following stroke representing a key determinant of independence and autonomy. This presentation will discuss current research results by our group that investigate: the magnitude of functional motor recovery, the capacity for recovery in the adult nervous system, and the specific pathways and mechanisms involved in neuromotor plasticity.

Target Audience:
Health services researchers with an interest in rehabilitation.

Assumed Audience Familiarity with Topic:
None


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