Effect on body composition and bone mineral density of walking with a robotic exoskeleton in adults with chronic spinal cord injury.
The interventional study aimed to examine the effect on body composition and bone mineral density of locomotor training using a robotic exoskeleton in individuals with spinal cord injury. Five adults with a non-progressive traumatic complete spinal cord injury participated in a personalized 6-week progressive locomotor training using a robotic exoskeleton. Body composition measures were determined using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry and peripheral quantitative computed tomography. The intervention resulted in a significant increase in leg and appendicular lean body mass and a decrease in total, leg and appendicular fat mass. Furthermore, the calf muscle cross-sectional area increased significantly. Finally, although not statistically significant but may be clinically significant, there was an increase of 14.5% in bone mineral density of the tibia. A decrease of >5 % was also noted for subcutaneous adipose tissue and intramuscular adipose tissue. The researchers concluded that locomotor training using a robotic exoskeleton appears to be associated with improvements in body composition, and potentially, bone health.
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