Study Design: Observational cross-sectional study. Objectives: Body mass index (BMI), measured as a ratio of weight (Wt) to the square of height (Wt/Ht(2)), waist circumference (WC) and waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) are common surrogate measures of adiposity. It is not known whether alternate scaling powers for height might improve the relationships between these measures and indices of obesity or cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). We aimed to estimate the values of 'x' that render Wt/Ht(x) and WC/Ht(x) maximally correlated with dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) total and abdominal body fat and Framingham Cardiovascular Risk Scores. Setting: Canadian public research institution. Methods: We studied 27 subjects with traumatic SCI. Height, Wt and body fat measurements were determined from DEXA whole-body scans. WC measurements were also obtained, and individual Framingham Risk Scores were calculated. For values of 'x' ranging from 0.0 to 4.0, in increments of 0.1, correlations between Wt/Ht(x) and WC/Ht(x) with total and abdominal body fat (kg and percentages) and Framingham Risk Scores were computed. Results: We found that BMI was a poor predictor of CVD risk, regardless of the scaling factor. Moreover, BMI was strongly correlated with measures of obesity, and modification of the scaling factor from the standard (Wt/Ht(2)) is not recommended. WC was strongly correlated with both CVD risk and obesity, and standard measures (WC and WHtR) are of equal predictive power. Conclusion: On the basis of our findings from this sample, alterations in scaling powers may not be necessary in individuals with SCI; however, these findings should be validated in a larger cohort., Peer-reviewed article, Published. Received 25 February 2014; revised 1 May 2014; accepted 1 August 2014; published online 30 September 2014.
Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the association between spinal cord injury (SCI) and type 2 diabetes in a large representative sample and to determine whether an association exists irrespective of known risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Methods: Data were obtained on 60,678 respondents to the Statistics Canada 2010 Cycle of the cross-sectional Canadian Community Health Survey. Multivariable logistic regression, incorporating adjustment for confounders and probability weights to account for the Canadian Community Health Survey sampling method, was conducted to quantify this association. Results: After adjustment for both sex and age, SCI was associated with a significant increased odds of type 2 diabetes (adjusted odds ratio = 1.66, 95% confidence interval 1.16–2.36). These heightened odds persisted after additional adjustment for smoking status, hypertension status, body mass index, daily physical activity, alcohol intake, and daily consumption of fruits and vegetables (fully adjusted odds ratio = 2.45, 95% confidence interval 1.34–4.47). Conclusions: There is a strong association between SCI and type 2 diabetes, which is not explained by known risk factors for type 2 diabetes., Peer-reviewed article, Published. Received May 14, 2013 ; Accepted August 21, 2013.
Background Exoskeleton technology has potential benefits for wheelchair users' health and mobility. However, there are practical barriers to their everyday use as a mobility device. To further understand potential exoskeleton use, and facilitate the development of new technologies, a study was undertaken to explore perspectives of wheelchair users and healthcare professionals on reasons for use of exoskeleton technology, and the importance of a variety of device characteristics. Methods An online survey with quantitative and qualitative components was conducted with wheelchair users and healthcare professionals working directly with individuals with mobility impairments. Respondents rated whether they would use or recommend an exoskeleton for four potential reasons. Seventeen design features were rated and compared in terms of their importance. An exploratory factor analysis was conducted to categorize the 17 design features into meaningful groupings. Content analysis was used to identify themes for the open ended questions regarding reasons for use of an exoskeleton. Results 481 survey responses were analyzed, 354 from wheelchair users and 127 from healthcare professionals. The most highly rated reason for potential use or recommendation of an exoskeleton was health benefits. Of the 17 design features, 4 had a median rating of very important: minimization of falls risk, comfort, repair and maintenance cost, and purchase cost. Factor analysis identified two main categories of design features: Functional Activities and Technology Characteristics. Qualitative findings indicated that health and physical benefits, use for activity and access reasons, and psychosocial benefits were important considerations in whether to use or recommend an exoskeleton. Conclusions This study emphasizes the importance of developing future exoskeletons that are comfortable, affordable, minimize fall risk, and enable functional activities. Findings from this study can be utilized to inform the priorities for future development of this technology., Peer-reviewed article, Published. Submission date 13 September 2014 ; Acceptance date 12 December 2014 ; Publication date 19 December 2014.