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Historical development and contemporary use of neuromodulation in human SCI

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    Historical development and contemporary use of neuromodulation in human SCI

    Susan Harkema 1 2 3, Claudia Angeli 2 3 4, Yury Gerasimenko 3 5 6
    Affiliations expandAbstract


    Purpose of review: There is a long history of neuromodulation of the spinal cord after injury in humans with recent momentum of studies showing evidence for therapeutic potential. Nonrandomized, mechanistic, hypothesis-driven, small cohort, epidural stimulation proof of principle studies provide insight into the human spinal circuitry functionality and support the pathway toward clinical treatments.

    Recent findings: Individuals living with spinal cord injury can recover motor, cardiovascular, and bladder function even years after injury using neuromodulation. Integration of continuous feedback from sensory information, task-specific training, and optimized excitability state of human spinal circuitry are critical spinal mechanisms. Neuromodulation activates previously undetectable residual supraspinal pathways to allow intentional (voluntary) control of motor movements. Further discovery unveiled the human spinal circuitry integrated regulatory control of motor and autonomic systems indicating the realistic potential of neuromodulation to improve the capacity incrementally, but significantly for recovery after severe spinal cord injury.

    Summary: The discovery that both motor and autonomic function recovers with lumbosacral spinal cord placement of the electrode reveals exciting avenues for a synergistic overall improvement in function, health, and quality of life for those who have been living with the consequences of spinal cord injury even for decades.


    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35856918/
    “As the cast of villains in SCI is vast and collaborative, so too must be the chorus of hero's that rise to meet them” Ramer et al 2005
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