Tetraplegia to Overground Stepping Using Non-Invasive Spinal Neuromodulation

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Conference Proceeding
International IEEE/EMBS Conference on Neural Engineering, NER, 2019, 2019-March, pp. 89-92
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© 2019 IEEE. Paralysis of the upper extremity (UE) and lower extremity (LE) following cervical spinal cord injury (SCI) significantly impairs the individual's ability to live independently. While improvement in hand function is considered one of the most desired functions in tetraplegics, few therapies have been successfully developed. Spinal cord stimulation have been shown to be effective in enabling UE and LE function individually. However, improvement of both UE and LE function concomitantly, using the same therapeutic modality has not been demonstrated. This study demonstrates that noninvasive neuromodulation of the spinal cord can improve hand function and stepping abilities in an individual with severe chronic paralysis. The improvements in UE and LE function were accompanied by improvement in autonomic function and sensation below the level of the lesion. Regaining these functions in the individual with severe, chronic paralysis had dramatic impacts functionally and psychologically.
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