A therapy for those with partial spinal cord injury is showing encouraging results from testing at the University of Saskatchewan.
One of the researchers on this project, Dr. Gillian Muir, says acute intermittent hypoxia therapy is a non-invasive treatment where the patient is exposed to very brief periods of low oxygen, called hypoxia, which is slightly lower than normal oxygen in the air.
U of S researchers have been trying the therapy on animals with spinal cord injuries.
Dr. Muir explains that the spinal cord and brain communicate and the cells in the spinal cord communicate to the muscles, so when there is an injury, the messages aren’t getting through.
The theory is providing a mild stress, like the low oxygen, helps the intact cells to become stronger, and it seems to be working with improvements shown in how the animals are moving.
Dr. Muir says collaborators in the U.S. are using this therapy on people and they are finding positive results with a remarkable effect on the improvement of muscle strength.