Autonomic control of thermoregulation during exercise in spinal cord injury

In able-bodied individuals, increases in core temperature during exercise are controlled by the nervous system as a sweating response. However, individuals with spinal cord injuries (SCI) may have altered sweating responses due to autonomic dysfunction, leading to increased risk of heat stress during exercise. Currently, standard tests do not fully describe how temperature regulation is impaired following SCI. The purpose of this study is to determine whether tests of autonomic function can predict temperature dysregulation in individuals with SCI. Thirty adults with SCI will be recruited to perform 60-minutes of moderate-intensity exercise with core temperature measured throughout exercise. We will use standard autonomic tests to evaluate autonomic function: sympathetic skin responses, and the sit up test. Through this study, we aim to explore the relationship between autonomic dysfunction and thermoregulation in SCI, in order to better target individuals at risk for heat stress during exercise.

Faculty Supervisor:

Maureen MacDonald


Jason Au






McMaster University


Globalink Research Award

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