Completed Research Studies

17. Title: Restoration of Walking After Spinal Cord Injury: An Experiment to Determine Whether a Disability Measure can be Developed by Incorporating Elements of Distance, Speed, and Endurance into the Appropriate Levels of the Walking Index for Spinal Cord Injury - Experiment 2

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to develop a disability measure for walking by incorporating elements of distance, speed and endurance into the appropriate levels of the Walking Index for Spinal Cord Injury (WISIC) scale.

Principal Investigator: John F. Ditunno, MD
Co-Investigator(s): Anthony S. Burns, MD

Background: The initial Walking Index for Spinal Cord Injury (WISCI) study, published in 2000, is an international multicenter validity and reliability study developed in collaboration with members of the RSCICDV. A subsequent study by an international panel of SCI experts found the WISCI scale is 100% reliable and measures what it intends to measure (walking).

If they are to have value in clinical trials, measurement tools such as the WISCI scale require continued study to prove their usefulness. These measures are highly beneficial for use in clinical trials to more precisely document walking function, walking speed, and the energy required to cover the distance. All of this information is important to document for future knowledge in understanding SCI recovery over time.

Since the WISCI is a functional capacity scale, it may accurately reflect intrinsic changes in the individual during recovery and as result of interventions, but it needs to be linked to a disability measure for several reasons. The WISCI examines only one distance of 10 meters and must be expanded to determine both household and community distances.

Another important function in the environment is speed. How quickly one walks across the street before the light changes is a good example.

A third important consideration is the energy required to walk with devices for short as compared to longer distances. The Institute of Medicineís description of the "Model of Enablement," emphasizes the need to link the impairment to the functional capacity and the functional capacity to the disability.

In experiment 2, the WISCI scale is being evaluated to see how well it can measure a subjectís speed, distance, and energy requirements.

Status: Study Completed

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