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Dr. Thrasher's Research Featured on Ch 11 News

HHP faculty Dr. Adam Thrasher's research was featured on Ch 11 News. The segment focused on the use of technology to help people who are bed bound for extended periods of time.

Link to KHOU article and accompanying video clip (opens in a new window)

Local research may help prevent bedsores

05:53 PM CDT on Monday, July 2, 2007, By Janice Williamson / 11 News

Every 15 minutes Marcus Edwards must reposition his body. Technology makes it easier for the quadriplegic. “It’s an air cushion, and you can adjust it to your weight and pressure,” Edwards said.

Movement prevents pressure ulcers; better known as bedsores, they can be fatal. “I was in the hospital for 30 days — about two surgeries — and then after discharge I was bed bound for about three months,” Edwards said. Christopher Reeve, who worked tirelessly to fund spinal cord injury research, died from an infection that was the result of a bedsore.

Now, at the University of Houston,  Dr. Adam Thrasher is about to begin a pilot study looking at stimulating paralyzed muscles with pulses of electricity. “We believe this might be a very inexpensive effective way to reduce the risk of developing a pressure ulcer,” Dr. Thrasher said.

The green pillow is a sensor that measures pressure. Red indicates a danger zone where the skin could become too thin and erupt into a sore. Researchers want to study 10 people with spinal cord injuries who’ve lost all feelings and have no voluntary movement. They will also study 10 able-bodied participants.

“We’re looking at what the central nervous system does to people or to their muscles while a person is sitting so our device can mimic what the human system does,” Dr. Thrasher said. Electromyography reveals when muscles are turned on and off.  If researchers can copy what the able bodied do subconsciously, it could lead to a better quality of life for people living with paralysis.

If you would like to participate, please contact Dr. Adam Thrasher at 713-743-5276 or athrasher3@uh.edu.

Click to learn more about Dr. Thrasher's research.

Dr. Thrasher is also part of the Laboratory of Integrated Physiology.