The conference on which these findings are based, including the printing and distribution of this publication, were funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education (H235R050001). Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) gathered in Chicago, IL, February 11-12, 2006 to conduct the Academy's seventh State-of-the-Science Conference. The conference was chaired by John W. Michael, MEd, CPO/L, FAAOP, FISPO, Adjunct Faculty, MSPO Program, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA. The SMEs concluded that there is currently no substantive evidence at the highest level of scientific certainty regarding the use of knee-ankle-foot orthoses (KAFOs) and hip-knee-ankle-foot orthoses (HKAFOs) for ambulation but there are a number of core assumptions supported by expert opinion and peer-reviewed publications that can be considered clinical hypotheses about these orthoses. These rehabilitation beliefs can and should be tested in future research applications. Six primary research priorities and associated implications were identified. The panelists concluded that scientific research into these questions would significantly advance our understanding about the optimal application of KAFOs and HKAFOs to assist in ambulation.
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