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NRN

NeuroRecovery Network

THE MISSION: DEVELOP AND EXPAND ACCESS TO ACTIVITY-BASED THERAPIES FOR PEOPLE WITH SPINAL CORD INJURY AND OTHER PHYSICAL DISABILITIES

The Reeve Foundation NRN is a perfect example of basic science being translated to the clinic and changing lives. Funded by the Foundation through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is a network of cutting-edge rehabilitation centers whose staffs have been trained in intensive activity-based treatments. In additional to financial support, the Foundation provides administrative and managerial support to the NRN.

The Locomotor Training (LT) that NRN centers are now deploying is the result of research that the Reeve Foundation began supporting decades ago. This program, currently working with individuals who have incomplete cervical and thoracic injuries, involves suspending patients in harnesses over treadmills while therapists move their legs to simulate walking.

Participants in the NRN program become part of a network-wide database that is collecting comprehensive medical information about the progress of each patient. By collecting and analyzing this information, the NRN will be able to accurately measure program outcomes. Additionally, the NRN publishes data from its studies in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

THE RESULTS: IMPROVED HEALTH, QUALITY OF LIFE AND FUNCTION

Not all participants will achieve the same results but all NRN centers report that all their participants do experience changes as a result of the therapy. A significant number of participants who were unable to walk when they entered the program are now able to walk.

There are significant improvements in participants' function, including trunk control, endurance, speed of walking and balance, which translate into better ability to perform activities of daily living and reduced dependence on caregivers. There are demonstrable improvements in cardiovascular, pulmonary, and bladder function and increased bone density. In general, NRN participants are showing improved overall physical well-being and quality of life.

Reeve Foundation NRN highlights (as of March 9, 2014):

  • 568 patients have completed or are currently enrolled in NRN therapy protocols
  • 80 participants are now walking in the home and community
  • 243 clients enrolled in community fitness & wellness (CFW) activity-based therapy/NRN programs.

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Continue Christopher Reeve's LegacyPhoto by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders