AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 27, Number 4, 2018


Study on Walking Ability Shows Path to Treatment for Stroke Survivors

Stroke is the leading cause of disability in older adults in the United States, but research by Clarkson University associate professor of Physical Therapy, George Fulk, and his colleagues is pointing the way to recovery for people who are relearning how to walk. Using data collected over a number of years from two other large clinical trials, the Potsdam, N.Y. researcher and his team were able to create and analyze one large database. Their results show a six-minute walk test is the strongest predictor of walking activity in the home and community for stroke survivors. That information, in turn, helps map the most effective steps for physical rehabilitation and independence. “One of my main focuses in research and my passion in physical therapy is to better understand how physical therapy interventions help people with stroke to relearn to walk again, so we need to better understand how to measure walking activity,” says Fulk. “We cannot follow patients around all day, so we measure how they walk in the clinic to try to understand out how they will function in the community and at home. A lot of times clinic and at-home experiences don’t match, though.”

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