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University of Iowa News Release

 

Nov. 14, 2006

Funding For Two UI Professors Advances Rehabilitation Research

Two faculty members in the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine's Graduate Program in Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science have received grants to further their research on rehabilitation and spinal cord injuries.

Richard K. Shields (left), Ph.D., UI professor and director of the program, received a five-year, $1.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to fund research to determine the optimal method to prevent secondary complications after spinal cord injury (SCI).

This funded project is based on previously completed research where Shields and colleagues found that early intervention and long-term treatment with electrical stimulation, which causes muscle contraction and exerts mechanical loading on the targeted bone, can significantly reduce the loss of bone mineral density (BMD) in SCI patients.

The purpose of this new five-year award is to determine if standing under electrical stimulation control can induce a therapeutic dose of stress to prevent muscle and bone changes after SCI. The long-term goal is to prevent the harmful muscular and skeletal secondary complications that follow complete SCI. A method to prevent these complications to the entire lower extremities would not only provide substantial monetary savings, but also profoundly improve the quality of life of people with SCI.

Kathleen Sluka (right), Ph.D., professor in the physical therapy graduate program, received a five-year, $1.7 million grant from the NIH and a one-year, $95,000 grant from Medtronic.

The NIH grant will be used to study the role of acid-sensing ion channels in muscle using an animal model of fibromyalgia. The study will help investigators understand the mediators and molecules that initiate development of chronic muscle pain. They hope the study will lead to the development of new treatment strategies aimed at treating musculoskeletal pain. Study collaborators include Chris Benson, UI professor of internal medicine, Steve Wilson of the University of South Carolina and David Yeomans of Stanford University.

Sluka will use the grant from Medtronic to study the mechanisms by which spinal cord stimulation reduces neuropathic pain, which is chronic pain as a result of an injury to the nervous system.

"The Graduate Program in Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, by virtue of this federal support, continues as a national leader in advancing the scientific basis for rehabilitation," Shields said.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5139 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

MEDIA CONTACT: David Pedersen, 319-335-8032, david-pedersen@uiowa.edu. Writer: Andrea Schreiber

 

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5139 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

MEDIA CONTACT: David Pedersen, 319-335-8032, david-pedersen@uiowa.edu.