Daily intermittent hypoxia improves walking in chronic SCI
Is it possible that AIH can restore a complex motor activity like overground walking? 19 subjects were exposed to: a) daily hypoxia alon; or b) daily hypoxia and 30 minutes of maximal walking. Hypoxia was induced by breathing for 90 seconds with a 9% oxygen nonrebreathing mask, for 15 episodes a day, on 5 consecutive days. Outcome measures were the 10 meter Walk Test (speed) and the 6MWT (endurance), combined with walking quality measurements.
With dAIH alone, the primary benefit was increased speed (10MWT), whereas the combined intervention of dAIH + walking had greater impact on walking endurance (6MWT). All subjects improved walking ability on the 10MWT or 6MWT, and improvements persisted for more than 3 days in 18 of 19 subjects. With a single AIH exposure, subjects improved 10MWT times by 17.6% over baseline, and 15% after dAIH + walking. Subjects improved 6MWT distance by 24% with dAIH alone, and 36.6% with the combined intervention of dAIH + walking. Hypoxia alone or combined with overground walking holds promise as a safe, effective intervention to restore function in persons with chronic iSCI.
> From: Hayes et al., Neurology 82 (2014) 104-113. All rights reserved to American Academy of Neurology. Click here for the Pubmed summary.