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1.  Characterization of recovered walking patterns and motor control after contusive spinal cord injury in rats 
Brain and Behavior  2012;2(5):541-552.
Currently, complete recovery is unattainable for most individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). Instead, recovery is typically accompanied by persistent sensory and motor deficits. Restoration of preinjury function will likely depend on improving plasticity and integration of these impaired systems. Eccentric muscle actions require precise integration of sensorimotor signals and are predominant during the yield (E2) phase of locomotion. Motor neuron activation and control during eccentric contractions is impaired across a number of central nervous system (CNS) disorders, but remains unexamined after SCI. Therefore, we characterized locomotor recovery after contusive SCI using hindlimb (HL) kinematics and electromyographic (EMG) recordings with specific consideration of eccentric phases of treadmill (TM) walking. Deficits in E2 and a caudal shift of locomotor subphases persisted throughout the 3-week recovery period. EMG records showed notable deficits in the semitendinosus (ST) during yield. Unlike other HL muscles, recruitment of ST changed with recovery. At 7 days, the typical dual-burst pattern of ST was lost and the second burst (ST2) was indistinct. By 21 days, the dual-burst pattern returned, but latencies remained impaired. We show that ST2 burst duration is highly predictive of open field Basso, Beattie, Bresnahan (BBB) scores. Moreover, we found that simple changes in locomotor specificity which enhance eccentric actions result in new motor patterns after SCI. Our findings identify a caudal shift in stepping kinematics, irregularities in E2, and aberrant ST2 bursting as markers of incomplete recovery. These residual impairments may provide opportunities for targeted rehabilitation.
PMCID: PMC3489807  PMID: 23139900
Kinematics; locomotion; rehabilitation; spinal cord injury
2.  Bioavailability of vitamin C from kiwifruit in non-smoking males: determination of ‘healthy’ and ‘optimal’ intakes 
Vitamin C is an essential nutrient in humans and must be obtained through the diet. The aim of this study was to determine vitamin C uptake in healthy volunteers after consuming kiwifruit (Actinidia chinensis var. Hort. 16A), and to determine the amount of fruit required to raise plasma vitamin C to ‘healthy’ (i.e. >50 µmol/l) and ‘optimal’ or saturating levels (i.e. >70 µmol/l). Leucocyte and urinary vitamin C levels were also determined. A total of fifteen male university students with below average levels of plasma vitamin C were selected for the study. Weekly fasting blood samples were obtained for a 4-week lead-in period and following supplementation with, sequentially, half, one, two and three Gold kiwifruit per d for 4–6 weeks each, followed by a final 4-week washout period. The results showed that addition of as little as half a kiwifruit per d resulted in a significant increase in plasma vitamin C. However, one kiwifruit per d was required to reach what is considered healthy levels. Increasing the dose of kiwifruit to two per d resulted in further increases in plasma vitamin C levels as well as increased urinary output of the vitamin, indicating that plasma levels were saturating at this dosage. Dividing the participants into high and low vitamin C groups based on their baseline plasma and leucocyte vitamin C levels demonstrated that it is critical to obtain a study population with low initial levels of the vitamin in order to ascertain a consistent effect of supplementation.
PMCID: PMC4153093  PMID: 25191543
Plasma vitamin C; Human saturation levels; Kiwifruit supplementation; Leucocytes; DTPA, diethylene triamine pentaacetic acid; RDI, recommended dietary intake

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