Director Center Spinal Stimulation Associate Professor West Orange, New Jersey
Recovery of upper extremity (UE) and hand function is considered the highest priority for individuals with tetraplegia, because these functions closely integrate with their activities of daily living. Therefore, there is a pressing need to restore as much function as possible to the large and increasing population of individuals with tetraplegia. The goal of this study is to investigate the efficacy of the novel and non-invasive spinal cord transcutaneous stimulation (scTS) in neuro-modulating the cervical spinal network to facilitate hand and UE function recovery for individuals with tetraplegia. Three males with chronic tetraplegia (S01: C5 AIS-A; S02: C3 AIS-D; S03: C7 AIS-B) were trained and tested in the study. Clinical outcome measures, as well as neurophysiological tests, were evaluated at baseline, post-intervention, and during three months of follow-up visits. the functional improvement and neurological recovery of hand and upper extremity in these participants. The present data demonstrated that scTS combined with task-specific hand training led to immediate and long-lasting improvements in the functional and neurological recovery of UE and hand. Future research will focus on randomized clinical trials to evaluate the responsiveness of scTS on a larger population of individuals with tetraplegia and understanding the underlying mechanisms.
Upon completion, the participant will be able to recognize the importance/priority of arm and hand functional recovery after cervical spinal cord injury (SCI).
Upon completion, participant will be able to show the short-term effects of transcutaneous spinal stimulation on neurological recovery.
Upon completion, the participant will be able to determine whether cervical scTS combined with hand training can lead to short-term and long-term functional and neurological recovery of upper extremity and hand for individuals with tetraplegia.