Enhancing Corticospinal Activation For Improved Walking Function

Project Type
Independent
Principal Investigator Name
Edelle Field-Fote/ Nicholas Evans
Principal Investigator Email
Start Date:
10/1/2016
End Date:
9/30/2021
Participating Centers:
Target Population(s):
Project Website:
Abstract:
For many people with spinal cord injury (SCI), the goal of walking is a high priority. There are many approaches available to restore walking function after SCI; however, these approaches often involve access to intensive training programs, facilities, qualified staff, and advanced technology that make practicing walking at home difficult. For this reason, developing training approaches that could be easily performed in the home would be of great value. In addition, research suggests that enhancing brain excitability might have benefits for improving the communication between the brain and spinal cord. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a type of non-invasive brain stimulation that has been shown to directly increase brain excitability, which may make it easier for the brain and nervous system to respond to training. Combining motor skill exercises with brain stimulation may enhance the restoration of function in persons with SCI. The purpose of this study is to determine if moderate-intensity, motor skill training can improve walking outcomes among persons with SCI and to determine if the addition of non-invasive brain stimulation (tDCS) will result in greater improvements in function compared to training alone.