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Altamont Senior Presents Summer Research at UAB Symposium
Julie Beckwith

For the past two summers, Altamont senior Kyle Hsu as been working in UAB's Rehabilitation Medicine Laboratory under the leadership of School of Medicine professor Dr. Ceren Yarar-Fisher. Kyle is part of a team of researchers, including college students, doctoral program students, full-time employees and one other high school student, exploring potential new treatment options for patients with spinal cord injuries.

"When you have a spinal cord injury, your muscle will deteriorate where it is paralyzed. It won't process nutrients. Our group worked with volunteers who have spinal cord injuries. We stimulated the muscles with electrical current while moving the subjects' legs to simulate walking. We repeated this process with them over a six-week period to see if it would reduce muscle shrinkage. The study is ongoing, but we have seen a small decrease in muscle loss and a small increase in healthy muscle fiber," said Kyle.

Kyle will be giving a poster presentation of the group's research "The Effects of Combined Neuromuscular Stimulation on Muscle Fiber Type and Cross-Sectional Area in People with Spinal Cord Injury" at the UAB Center for Exercise Medicine's 7th Annual Symposium on September 13, 2019. This poster is being judged, so Kyle will have to answer questions about various methodologies and the research itself.

"My goal in all of this has been to learn. The research itself is very interesting, but it is a much longer and slower process than I thought it would be; the work stretches out over years. In general, the whole research process is quieter and the results are more subtle than I thought they would be. But it's been wonderful to work with really high-end lab equipment."

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