Carmel Lab
Research Projects

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NYS Translational: Independent Replication the Behavioral Effects of Combined Stimulation on Motor Recovery After Cervical Contusion Injury in the Rodent

In Progress

The goal of this project is to validate independently in our laboratory the paired cortex and spinal cord stimulation protocol developed in the original study in rats. The original study examined the behavioral and anatomic effects of combined stimulation on motor recovery after cervical spinal contusion injury in rats. Most patients suffering from the spinal cord injury are injured at cervical level, and majority of them have residual corticospinal tract connections left. This gives us a chance to explore strategies to improve motor function in these patients. One such strategy is to: strengthen spared corticospinal tract connections after incomplete cervical spinal cord injury to improve arm and hand function. In order to achieve this, we use the combined paradigms of intermittent theta burst stimulation, a mimic version of repetitive TMS, for the cortex and non‐invasive transcutaneous direct current stimulation for the spinal cord. These stimulation paradigms are safe and short in duration, and have been shown to be efficacious in rodent rehabilitation studies. In order to advance this therapy closer to human cervical incomplete spinal cord injury patients, a translation plan is required. We envision that an important first step for this purpose is to replicate and validate the original findings. This is a necessary step in establishing a robust therapy, applying a novel treatment to human patients confidently and also strongly endorsed by the spinal cord injury clinical and research community. So far, we have successfully replicated the surgical and behavior parts of the original study. Spinal cord injured animals receiving stimulation perform significantly better on behavior tasks challenging their forelimb function than injured animals that received sham treatment. We are currently working on testing more animals on the behavior tasks, and analyzing the anatomic changes in their spinal cord.

NYS Translational Project Figure

NYS Translational Project Timeline


Translational Project Video Spinal Lesion 3D Reconstruction