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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging

Title: Body composition of active persons with spinal cord injury and with poliomyelitis

item Ribeiro, Sandra Maria Li
item Kehayias, Joseph
item Silva, Regina Celia Da
item Tirapegui, Julio

Submitted to: Revista Acta Fisiátrica
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/22/2012
Publication Date: 3/22/2012
Citation: Ribeiro, S.M., Kehayias, J., Silva, R., Tirapegui, J. 2012. Body composition of active persons with spinal cord injury and with poliomyelitis. Revista Acta Fisiátrica. 18(4):206-210.

Interpretive Summary: This study sought to investigate the body composition (lean and fat mass) of individuals with active spinal cord injuries and polio. In the study, active, free-living males and females of similar age were grouped by sex and by the nature of their condition (low spinal cord injury or polio), forming four study groups: men with low spinal cord injury, men surviving polio, women with low spinal cord injury, and women surviving polio. Body composition of all participants was measured in order to compare results within their gender and between the two conditions. When available, these results were also compared to an external reference population. Body composition was indirectly used to indicate nutritional status. The study suggests that increased nutritional risk is present for individuals with these two conditions compared to the reference group. Furthermore, this risk seems to be greater in individuals with polio than those with low spinal cord injuries, and men seem to be at higher risk than women. This type of knowledge will help us address the special nutritional needs of individuals with polio and lower spinal cord injuries.

Technical Abstract: This study sought to evaluate the body composition of subjects with active spinal cord injuries and polio. Two groups of males and females, active, free-living, of similar ages and body mass index (BMI), were distributed according to the source of deficiency: SCI – low spinal cord injury (T5-T12) and P – survivors of poliomyelitis infection. Body composition was analyzed by DEXA (fat and lean mass); bioelectrical impedance by vector analysis (BIVA analysis; resistance and reactance). Participants of the same gender were compared according to the source of deficiency, and both groups had their values compared to a reference population, when available. Mean vectors were assessed with Hotelling’s T2 test and compared by Mahalanobis distance (D). DEXA analysis pointed out the men of P group with higher absolute amount of lean mass, and consequently the higher body lean mass index; both groups presented lower values than a reference study. With regard to BIVA analysis, P men presented higher resistance than SCI men and, consequently, a lower phase angle. Considering body composition as an indirect indicator of nutritional status, the present study suggests that, even with both groups presenting lower values than a reference population, there is a possibility of an increased nutritional risk for polio individuals than SCI, and this risk seems to be higher in men than in women. Further investigation, adopting biochemical and dietetic markers, and a larger sample size, certainly could better explore and understand our results.

Last Modified: 06/22/2017
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