More than 30 percent of patients exposed to hypoxia—short periods of breathing low oxygen levels—increased walking speed by at least a tenth of a meter per second and more than 70 percent increased endurance by at least 50 meters.
“About 59 percent of all spinal injuries are incomplete, which means the injury leaves pathways that could enable the spinal cord to change in a way that allows people to walk again,” says study author Randy D. Trumbower, assistant professor of rehabilitation medicine, at the Emory University School of Medicine.
“Unfortunately, a person affected by this type of spinal injury seldom recovers the ability to walk normally. However, our research proposes a promising new way for the spinal cord to make the connections needed to walk better.”
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Photo credit: Emory University