University of Maryland Rehabilitation & Orthopaedic Institute
410-448-2500 or 1-888-453-7626

The Rehabilitation Research Center at Kernan

The Rehabilitation Research Center at Kernan

 

For More Information

Contact the The Rehabilitation Research Center at Kernan by email: research@kernan.umm.edu.


Article: Innovative Research Program Looks for New Ways to Help Patients with Spinal Cord Injuries

 

The Rehabilitation Research Center at Kernan is a collaborative effort to bring state of the art research to clinical rehabilitation care for the patients we serve. Support from the Kernan Endowment Board and Kernan Hospital, The University of Maryland School of Medicine and the Baltimore Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center has combined to create this new Center.

Our mission is to advance the state of rehabilitation medicine science and apply these advancements to affect the best possible care for our patients. We see the need to continually “push the envelope” and try new approaches, while basing these new approaches on sound research principles and design.

Our main emphasis has been on the use of exercise and robotic rehabilitation techniques to improve the health, fitness, and function of people with neurologic disabilities.

Drs. Richard Macko and Larry Forrester, two of the principal investigators working within the Rehabilitation Research Center. Drs. Richard Macko and Larry Forrester, two of the principal investigators working within the Rehabilitation Research Center.

We specifically have so far initiated studies for people with spinal cord injury, stroke and traumatic brain injury. In the future, we expect to expand this work to those with multiple sclerosis, Parkinsonism, and other neurologic diseases. Our work will also involve pharmaceutical trials and other studies such the assessment of new approaches for the treatment of sleep disorders after traumatic brain injury.

This research work involves extensive collaboration. For example, we have a strong link with the University of Maryland R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center.


Not only do we share in the care of the patients with acute traumatic injury, but we are committed to share the task of research into how to care for these patients better. Many investigational treatments started at Shock Trauma have and will be followed up at Kernan in order to make sure that the new treatments begun right after injury actually work for the longer term when patients get to Kernan Rehabilitation and even when they go home.

Dr. George Wittenberg demonstrating some of the equipment available at the Kernan's new center.
Dr. George Wittenberg demonstrating some of the equipment available at Kernan's new center.

Another example of our collaboration with other centers of excellence is our link with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Mechanical Engineering. At MIT, innovative design work has resulted in the invention of several robotic devices to assist individuals with paralysis. Two of these devices, the MANUS for arm rehabilitation and the Anklebot for leg rehabilitation, are now being installed at Kernan, and will be part of ongoing investigations into their effectiveness in restoring function in people after stroke. These two robots supplement the other robotic device already installed at Kernan, namely the Lokomat that is being studied for treatment of individuals with incomplete spinal cord injury. This work is being supported with funds from the Department of Veterans Affairs, another collaborating institution.

As we expand our research and grow our program, this web site will become a link to information about ongoing projects, investigational studies and collaborations. If you would like more information, please check back often, or call our Center at 410-448-6773.

Peter H. Gorman, MD
Chief, Division of Rehabilitation Medicine
Co-Director, Rehabilitation Research Center at Kernan
Associate Professor of Neurology
University of Maryland School of Medicine