Improving Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Interventions

Improving Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Interventions by Retraining the Brain With Stimulation

The purpose of this study is to investigate whether combining a noninvasive method of brain stimulation, called Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS), enhances the effect of training of the affected upper limbs in patients with incomplete Spinal Cord Injury.

No pharmaceutical medication involved
Patients and healthy individuals accepted

Behavioral - Rehabilitation

Patients will receive training upon tasks of daily living. They will perform these exercises in our laboratory under the supervision of qualified personnel.

Procedure - Noninvasive brain stimulation: tDCS

TDCS is a method of noninvasive stimulation of the brain. Using electrodes placed in saline-soaked sponges, low level of direct current (2mA) is delivered over the scalp. This intervention is considered safe and noninvasive because it does not involve implantation or injection or any skin penetration. In the present study, tDCS will be delivered to patients in the experimental group for 2 hr each day for 5 days a week for 2 weeks in conjunction with therapy for the affected hand.

Procedure - Sham tDCS: placebo noninvasive brain stimulation

Placebo set-up for noninvasive brain stimulation will be similar to that for the active tDCS; sponge electrodes would be placed on the scalp and connected to a batter-operated device. Patients will not receive the effective level of direct current as would delivered in active tDCS intervention. But patients will not be able to decipher whether they are receiving active or placebo tDCS.

Improving Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Interventions by Retraining the Brain With Stimulation: Applying Concepts From Stroke