RehabWire - Volume 7, Number 5, June 2005

Murderball, an award-winning documentary about Quad Rugby and the hardcore men and women who play, opens in the US in July. RehabWire for June looks at sport, recreation and exercise and disability.

NIDRR Projects: Research in the New Millennium.

RERC on Spinal Cord Injury: Keep Moving: Technologies to Enhance Mobility and Function for Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury, Los Amigos Research and Education Institute, Inc. (LAREI), (H133E020732) led by Samuel Landsburger, ScD and Robert Waters, MD. Theresa San Agustin, MD, Project Officer.
Abstract: This RERC improves the lives of individuals with SCI by promoting their health, safety, independence, and active engagement in daily activities. The program is focused on a key issue for individuals with SCI, the need to maintain mobility for as long as possible in order to enhance independent function. A survey of the user population determines where areas of greatest need exist. An active Mobile Arm Support for adults allows those with limited arm function greater independence. The shoulder-preserving wheelchair, gait training robotic assist device, and adaptive exercise equipment are all specifically geared to preserve or enhance mobility in individuals with SCI. A project on optimized wheelchair suspension keeps people mobile by increasing comfort and reducing tissue loading.
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Missouri Arthritis Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (MARRTC), University of Missouri (H133B031120), led by Jerry C. Parker, PhD. Theresa San Agustin, MD, Project Officer.
Abstract: The purpose of the Missouri Arthritis Rehabilitation Research and Training Center is to provide leadership at the national level in support of three key objectives: to reduce pain and disability, to improve physical fitness and quality of life, and to promote independent living and community integration for persons with arthritis of all ages. State-of-the-science rehabilitation research addresses the needs of persons with arthritis in the following areas: (1) home and community-based self-management programs, (2) benefits of exercise and physical fitness, and (3) technologies available to the broad populations of persons with arthritis in the environments where they live, learn, work, and play.
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Technologies for Children with Orthopedic Disabilities, Los Amigos Research and Education Institute, Inc. (LAREI) (H133E003001), led by Sam Landsberger, ScD;Donald McNeal, PhD. Richard Johnson, EdD, Project Officer.
Abstract: The goal of this RERC is to improve the lives of children with orthopedic disabilities. The research and development program is focused on three of the most important life activities of children: manipulation, mobility, and play and recreation. The mobility projects address the needs of children with cerebral palsy, spinal bifida, SCI, muscle disease, and other chronic conditions that affect the child’s ability to ambulate. The RERC develops lightweight orthotic components, evaluates the effectiveness of functional electrical stimulation to correct gait abnormalities in children with cerebral palsy, and determines the appropriate time to provide children with wheeled mobility.
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Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Recreational Technologies and Exercise Physiology Benefiting Persons with Disabilities (RERC RecTech), University of Illinois at Chicago (H133E020715), led by James H. Rimmer, PhD. Thomas Corfman, Project Officer.
Abstract: This program researches access to recreational opportunities and physical endurance of people with disabilities, targeting four primary areas: (1) increased access to fitness and recreation environments; (2) interventions to increase physical activity and recreation participation; (3) adherence strategies to reduce physical activity relapse and dropout rates; and (4) randomized clinical trials to evaluate improvements in health and function. Research and development projects include: (1) a comprehensive needs assessment that involves ongoing assessment of consumer needs as they pertain to existing and emerging recreational and fitness technologies; (2) research on the use of information technology and a newly designed environmental accessibility instrument for facilitating access to recreational and fitness environments and promoting improved health and function; (3) research on the use of "teleexercise" technology for promoting participation and for monitoring intensity and physiological/psychological outcomes of home-based exercise programs; (4) development of broadly applicable aftermarket accessory kits for adapting existing cardiovascular exercise equipment for use by people with disabilities and determining the efficacy of the new adaptations in improving fitness; (5) development of technology to allow users adaptive control of exercise machines; and (6) development of an online RecTech solutions database of currently available recreational and fitness technologies to make available solutions more accessible to consumers. Two training projects promote capacity building for future recreation, fitness, exercise physiology, engineering, and rehabilitation professionals, and two additional training projects support professional development.
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two men in wheelchairs playing basketball

University of Pittsburgh Model Center on Spinal Cord Injury, University of Pittsburgh (H133N000019), led by Michael L. Boninger, MD. Theresa San Agustin, MD, Project Officer.
Abstract: The University of Pittsburgh Model Center on Spinal Cord Injury (UPMC-SCI) represents the efforts of dedicated consumers, clinicians, and researchers. The UPMC-SCI’s research focus is on innovations in AT. The research projects evaluate the impact of selected innovations in technology on service delivery and on outcomes such as function, independence, and employment. One project examines an innovative technology in the form of an exercise system (GAMECycle) to increase cardiovascular fitness in a population with SCI. The GAMECycle is an interface between a personal computer and an arm ergometer allowing for computer play while exercising.
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New Research: Selections from REHABDATA

Slater, D., Meade, M. (2004) Participation in recreation and sports for persons with spinal cord injury: Review and recommendations. NeuroRehabilitation, 9(2). NARIC accession Number: J45484. Project Number: H133N000015.
Abstract: Article reviews research focused on participation in recreation and sports among individuals with SCI. The physiological and psychological benefits of participation, factors that influence participation, issues related to assistive technology, and safety concerns are discussed and recommendations are provided.

Cardinal, B., Kosma, M. (2004) Factors influencing the exercise behavior of adults with physical disabilities. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 36(5), 8. NARIC Accession Number: J46954. Project Number: H133B990019.
Abstract: National survey examined the stages of change for exercise behavior among 322 adults with physical disabilities based on the transtheoretical model (TM) of behavior change constructs and exercise barriers. TM recognizes ways to increase physical activity behavior. Results indicated that the behavioral processes of change, self-efficacy, and decisional balance were very important to physical activity participation. Barriers to exercise and cognitive processed of change were also very important to physical activity enhancement.

Fitzgerald, S., Cooper, R. (2004) The GAMECycle exercise system: Comparison with standard ergometry. Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine, 27(5), 7. NARIC Accession Number: J47024. Project Number: H133N000019.
Abstract: Study examined ratings of perceived exertion and users’ impressions of the GAMECycle system compared to standard arm ergometry. The GAMECycle is an interface between a portable roller system and a computer, which enables wheelchair users to play commercially available computer video games through the propulsion of his or her wheels on the rollers. Thirteen individuals who used wheelchairs exercised with both devices while physiologic and perceived exertion data were collected. Results showed that no significant differences were found for heart rate and perceived exertion between the 2 exercise modalities. Playing the games significantly increased the level of oxygen consumption.

Rimmer, J., Heller, T. (2004) Improvements in physical fitness in adults with Down syndrome. American Journal on Mental Retardation, 109(2), 10. NARIC Accession Number: J47661. Project Number: H133B980046.
Abstract: Study evaluated the effectiveness of an exercise training program for 52 adults with Down syndrome. The 12-week training program consisted of cardiovascular and strength exercises, 3 days a week for 45 minutes per session. Compared to control subjects, the training group showed significant improvement in all outcome measures for cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength, body composition, and endurance.

Heller, T., Hsieh, K. (2004) Attitudinal and psychosocial outcomes of a fitness and health education program on adults with Down syndrome. American Journal on Mental Retardation, 109(2), 11. NARIC Accession Number: J47662. Project Number: H133B980046.
Abstract: Study examined the attitudinal and psychosocial outcomes of a fitness and health education program for 53 adults with Down syndrome. The 12-week training program consisted of cardiovascular and strength exercises and health education classes, 3 days a week for 2 hours per day. Compared to control subjects, the training group showed significant changes in attitudes towards exercise, more positive expected outcomes, fewer cognitive-emotional barriers, improved life satisfaction, and marginally lower depression.

man in a hand-propelled tricycle, dog in background

Rimmer, J. (2005) Exercise and physical activity in persons aging with a physical disability. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America, 16(1), 16. NARIC Accession Number: J48385. Project Number: H133E020715.
Abstract: Article examines the relationship between health status and physical activity in older adults with physical disabilities. Author describes a cyclical relationship between disability and physical activity. Physical inactivity over a prolonged period results in the development of secondary conditions and further functional loss. Regular physical activity has the potential to offset aging- and disability-related losses in function. Guidelines are presented for implementing exercise programs for aging individuals with various types of physical disabilities.

Ipsen, C. (2004) Linking health, secondary conditions and employment outcomes. Rural Disability and Rehabilitation Research Progress Report #24. NARIC Accession Number: O15422. Project Number: H133B030501.
Abstract: National survey data were analyzed using logistic regression to determine the relationship among health behaviors, secondary conditions, and employment outcomes for people with disabilities. Respondents who had exercised in the previous month had an 8.4 percent higher probability of employment compared to respondents who did not exercise. Implications for the positive effect of health promotion activities on employment outcomes.

(2004) Spinal cord injury update, 13(3),8. NARIC Accession Number: O15907. Project Number: H133N000003.
Abstract: Newsletter of the Northwest Regional Spinal Cord Injury System (NWRSCIS), a model spinal cord injury (SCI) care system. Each issue includes news of the NWRSCIS and a review of recent SCI research literature. Topics covered in this issue: physical fitness, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, home modification, and 13 abstracts on SCI topics.

(2004) The source, 9(4), 8. NARIC Accession Number: O15939. Project Number: H133N000015.
Abstract: Newsletter presents activities and events of the Virginia Commonwealth Regional Model Spinal Cord Injury System. In this issue: (1) spotlight on Stephanie Copeland, (2) recreation and sports for people with spinal cord injury, (3) in memory of Christopher Reeve, (4) answers to questions about starting an exercise program, (5) upcoming events, and (6) Internet resources.

Murderball opens nationwide on July 22nd. More info is available at