Development of Clinical Measures to Guide Neuromodulation Therapies
Activation of upper limb muscles is important for independent living after cervical spinal cord injury (SCI) that results in tetraplegia. Individuals with tetraplegia rely on the upper limbs to perform daily self-care activities. Unfortunately, upper limb pain and injury resulting from muscle weakness are significant problems in tetraplegia that result in further debilitation and loss of independence. An emerging approach to address post-SCI muscle weakness is modulation of the nervous system via non-invasive electrical stimulation to re-supply nerve to paralyzed muscle fibers. To direct neuromodulation as an adjunct to physical rehabilitation, clinicians need more informative measures that can indicate changes in the nerve supply to muscle. The purpose of this project is to develop innovative methodology to reliably assess changes in nerve supply to muscle and indicate the location of the nervous system that is performing suboptimal. Neuromodulation techniques can then be targeted to precise locations of the nervous system.