Improving SCI Rehab Interventions by Retraining the Brain in SCI Participants

The purpose of this study is to investigate whether combining training of the affected upper limbs in patients with SCI with a noninvasive technique of brain stimulation called transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) can improve training outcomes. tDCS is a painless and noninvasive method (does not involves surgery) of activating the brain with the use of low-level direct electrical current. 

Duration

20 visits over 5 months. Participants complete a series of brain function and arm function tests before and after 15 training sessions. Training sessions involve hand and arm repetitive training with or without brain stimulation. There are post training testing, 3 months of home training exercises and a 3 month follow-up brain function and arm function tests. 

Inclusion Criteria

SCI participants: 

  • Individuals diagnosed with a spinal cord injury at a neurological level of injury between C2-C6 and an impairment grade B, C or D, according to the ASIA Impairment Scale. Individuals with quadriplegia will use their motor level rather than neurological level to identify level of injury. Motor level must be between C2-T6. 
  • Aged 18-75 years old.
  • At least one year post injury
  • Have muscle strength in arm muscles of the weaker limb, based on screening evaluation. 

Healthy Volunteers:

  • Right-handed individuals aged 18-70 years.
  • No history of neurological disease.
  • Have required muscle strength in arm muscles. 
Compensation

Participants are compensated up to $150 for completing the study.

Research Categories
Spinal Cord Injury
Healthy Volunteers
Actively Recruiting
Yes