Participants were eligible for inclusion only if they had limited

Participants were eligible for inclusion only if they had limited ability to sit unsupported as verified by a score of 5/7 or less on

the unsupported sitting item of the Clinical Outcomes Variable Scale (Campbell et al 2003). Participants were excluded if they were unlikely to co-operate or had pressure areas necessitating bedrest. Participants were referred to the study by hospital-based therapists. Participants in the experimental group received 30 minutes of task-specific training by a physiotherapist skilled in the management of people with spinal cord injuries, three times a week for six weeks. This intervention was provided in addition to the participants’ standard in-patient therapy. This was the most intensive dose of motor training that could be realistically provided within the rehabilitation facilities. The 30 minutes did not include time spent in set up, rest, or conversation. Consequently, each session took between 45 and 60 minutes. A stopwatch was used to ensure that 30 minutes of active therapy was achieved. The training was tailored to each participant’s stage of rehabilitation with the emphasis on providing clearly defined goals for each therapy session as well as appropriate and well-timed instructions and feedback. Participants sat in an unsupported position on a physiotherapy bed with hips and knees

flexed to 90° and feet supported on Selleckchem SB203580 the ground. Participants were required to practise repeatedly specifically-designed exercises that involved moving the upper body over and outside the base of support (Figure 1). There were 84

different exercises each with three grades of difficulty (ie, a total of 252 exercises). The 84 exercises were developed as part of a previous trial and developed in consultation with senior spinal cord injury physiotherapists from Sydney (Boswell-Ruys et al 2010b). Each of the 84 exercises was written on a card and placed in a pack. Participants arbitrarily chose cards from the pack for each session. Details about each participant’s exercise program were recorded. Control participants did not practise any of the 252 exercises. However, all participants continued to receive standard physiotherapy and occupational therapy which included training for transfers, wheelchair skills, dressing and showering. The protocol also dictated that control participants receive three 5-minute Histamine H2 receptor sessions per week of training in unsupported sitting. However, this was provided only to the control participants from the Bangladesh site. The control participants from the Australian site did not receive any training in unsupported sitting for the duration of the study. All assessments were conducted at the beginning and end of the 6-week study period by one assessor from the Bangladesh site and one of two assessors from the Australian site; all blinded to participants’ allocation. Participants were asked not to discuss their training or group allocation with the assessors.

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