Rehabilitation and Neural Engineering Laboratory

Characterizing Activity Patterns After Spinal Cord Injury

For an individual who has experienced a spinal cord injury (SCI) the first question is often, “will I walk again?”. However, for many of those with moderate impairments of strength and sensation, existing clinical prediction rules offer little insight into how treatment interventions should be targeted. 

Study Goal:

Aim 1 of this study is to predict mobility at discharge and at 1-year post-discharge, based upon patient characteristics and activity during inpatient rehabilitation to improve patient and clinician understanding of anticipated changes in mobility in the year following SCI to appropriately target expectations and interventions to maximize functional outcomes. Aim 2 of this proposal is to evaluate changes in functional mobility (i.e., wheeling ⇆ walking or changes in activity within mode) in the first year post injury and their impact on quality of life and participation.

Study Summary:

There are factors following discharge that challenge or enhance the sustainability of walking for functional mobility including energy costs, neurologic recovery and biopsychosocial factors such as resilience, self-efficacy, environment, and caregiver support. The association between these factors and post-discharge changes in mobility are not well understood. Using wearable sensors we will quantify time spent walking and wheeling to identify transitions between walking and wheeling, identify factors that contribute to these transitions and investigate their impact on participation.

This study is open to individuals acutely after spinal cord injury receiving inpatient rehabilitation at UPMC Mercy.

Principle Investigator

Lynn Worobey; PhD, DPT, ATP

For more information call