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Bone loss and muscle atrophy in spinal cord injury: epidemiology, fracture prediction

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    Bone loss and muscle atrophy in spinal cord injury: epidemiology, fracture prediction

    J Spinal Cord Med. 2006;29(5):489-500.

    Bone loss and muscle atrophy in spinal cord injury: epidemiology, fracture prediction, and rehabilitation strategies.

    Giangregorio L, McCartney N.

    Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

    Individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) often experience bone loss and muscle atrophy. Muscle atrophy can result in reduced metabolic rate and increase the risk of metabolic disorders. Sublesional osteoporosis predisposes individuals with SCI to an increased risk of low-trauma fracture. Fractures in people with SCI have been reported during transfers from bed to chair, and while being turned in bed. The bone loss and muscle atrophy that occur after SCI are substantial and may be influenced by factors such as completeness of injury or time postinjury. A number of interventions, including standing, electrically stimulated cycling or resistance training, and walking exercises have been explored with the aim of reducing bone loss and/or increasing bone mass and muscle mass in individuals with SCI. Exercise with electrical stimulation appears to increase muscle mass and/or prevent atrophy, but studies investigating its effect on bone are conflicting. Several methodological limitations in exercise studies with individuals with SCI to date limit our ability to confirm the utility of exercise for improving skeletal status. The impact of standing or walking exercises on muscle and bone has not been well established. Future research should carefully consider the study design, skeletal measurement sites, and the measurement techniques used in order to facilitate sound conclusions.
    “As the cast of villains in SCI is vast and collaborative, so too must be the chorus of hero's that rise to meet them” Ramer et al 2005

    Experiments on Bone Loss in Space

    If I'm not mistaken they did a study on bone loss on the astronauts who are aboard the Space Shuttle and the big thingy hanging up there between us and the Moon. The longer the astronauts are out in space without gravity and exercise, the more bone loss is seen. It makes sense that if you don't use it (get it moved) the muscles will atrophy and the bones, which the muscles slide over when moved, will weaken.

    Think about it a minute. They are out in space without gravity. You have a similiar issue from the reverse perspective, you have gravity but cannot move on your own. They make an effort to stay healthy by exercising in space. They know that exercise promotes a healthier organ system, healthier bone mass, and feeling better. It doesn't make a difference if you get assistance (motor-assisted on a cycle, swimming, or PT) or not - you are moving your muscles. They are sliding over your bones like they should. You are doing something incredible for yourself by saying "YES! I'm doing it!"