Manca, Andrea (2016) Translational approaches in neurorehabilitation: from Researcher’s bench to Patient’s bedside. Doctoral Thesis.
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Aim: To translate evidence-based methodologies of functional assessment and training from exercise and sports physiology to patients with neurological conditions.
Methods: Dynamometric, neurophysiological and clinico-functional assessments were comprehensively performed within a multi-layered agenda consisting of different trials (3 randomized controlled trials, 5 cross-sectional studies, 4 single-group proof-of concept interventional trials) conducted on both healthy subjects and individuals presenting neurological conditions with a special focus on multiple sclerosis. These studies were aimed at addressing muscle weakness and its related disabilities, with a specific focus on multiple sclerosis.
Results: Employing exercise and sports physiology techniques and methods with neurological patients, mostly multiple sclerosis, resulted into dynamometric and clinico-functional improvements which exceeded those commonly reported in clinical literature. In particular, the choice of strengthening exercise performed at maximal intensity proved well tolerated and effective in addressing muscle weakness due to neurological conditions. Moreover, assessment techniques borrowed from elite sports helped highlighting and characterizing the main differences between healthy and neurological individuals in terms of force production patterns and overall muscle capability.
Conclusion: Translational approaches like those explored in the present PhD project are to be considered as promising and innovative tools in the management of motor disabilities caused by pathological conditions of the nervous system.
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