Effects of activity dependent plasticity on recovery of bladder and sexual function after SCI

Published: February 16, 2016 | Category: News

Introduction and Background Information:

You are invited to participate in a research study because disease or injury to the spinal cord has impaired your ability to walk. This study is being conducted by Susan Harkema, PhD, and Charles Hubscher, PhD. The study is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and will take place at Frazier Rehab Center. Approximately 40 local individuals with spinal cord injury will be invited to participate in this study. Your participation in this study will last for up to 6 months. If you are pregnant, anticipate pregnancy or are nursing you are not eligible to participate in this study.

Purpose of Research:

Bladder dysfunction is responsible for many clinical complications after spinal cord injury (SCI). Sexual dysfunction after SCI includes impairment in fertility, arousal and genital responses. The purpose of this study is to improve our understanding of how various forms of exercise may influence recovery of bladder and sexual function in the SCI population. Improvements in bladder and sexual function may have a tremendous impact on the continual health and quality of life for SCI patients.

Volunteers Must:

  • Have a chronic, non-progressive SCI above T10;
  • Be 18-70 years of age;
  • Be discharged from standard inpatient rehabilitation;
  • Have urodynamic and sexual dysfunction as a result of SCI;

Procedures: If you choose to participate, you will undergo the following procedures in this study. In addition, participants also will have complimentary access to the Community Fitness and Wellness Center at Frazier Rehab Institute.

1) Exercise Intervention: Participants will undergo daily arm crank training (non-weight bearing exercise) for 1 hour (at 40-60 RPMs), completing a total of 80 sessions.

2.) Voiding diary: You will be asked to keep a log of your urine output (or catheterization) for two consecutive 24 hour periods, each week throughout the duration of your training, in order to monitor changes in bladder management.

3.) Urodynamics: Prior to initiating training, at midpoint of training and once training is completed, participants will undergo urodynamic testing to evaluate their bladder function. This test will measure urinary flow, bladder pressure and bladder capacity using special catheters. Your blood pressure will be monitored during testing. A urine sample also will be collected during this time point for urinalysis and an evaluation of urinary biomarkers.

4.) Questionnaires: Standardized questionnaires tailored for both males and females will be given to evaluate aspects of sexual, bowel and bladder function.

Site(s) where study is to be conducted:

U of L Department of Neurological Surgery, Louisville, KY
Frazier Rehab Center
ULP Urology Clinic

Participation in the study, with testing and training should last approximately 6 months.

Research Coordinator: April Herrity (502-424-6338)

Phone number for subjects to call for questions: (502) 581-8675

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