Patients who have had serious neurological injuries could find they can carry out more normal activities if they use the right rehabilitation methods, according to new research.
The study, which was carried out at the Georgetown University Medical Centre, tested a robotic trainer called the Rodent Robotic Motor Performance System on rats with spinal injuries.
It found that the animals that were given rehabilitation had shorter strides.
Dr Nathan Neckel commented that these results are an indication that more accurate exercises could lead to patients being trained to perform everyday tasks that they were not able to do following neurological injury.
"Our results show that increasing activity using a precise and repeatable physiologically relevant training pattern can modify over ground locomotion," he said.
The robotic device used on the rats worked by taking the animals' hind limbs through a specific exercise regime.
Recent research at Tel Aviv University has indicated that it might be possible to create a kind of biologically active scaffold to replace lost bone.