Hand and arm disability after stroke has a profound, negative impact on functional ability and independence. Basic science research suggests that recovery requires high repetitions of task-specific practice. Enough practice cannot be completed during therapy sessions, requiring patients to perform additional task practices at home on their own. Adherence to these home task practices is often limited and is likely a factor reducing the effectiveness of rehabilitation post-stroke. This project will create a system to objectively track stroke survivors' hand and arm task practice at home. The quantity and quality feedback from the system is expected to optimize effective task practice at home by patients. The system is expected to also enable adherence- and progress-driven clinic visits to maximize efficiency of therapy service.
Stroke is a leading cause of disability in the U.S. and many Veteran stroke survivors live with severe disability. Despite recent advances in rehabilitation treatments many stroke survivors have persistent physical and mental difficulties such as reduced arm and leg function, difficulty thinking, and depression.
Developing treatments that address these problems is necessary to improve long-term recovery for stroke survivors. Aerobic exercise (AEx) can improve physical and mental function, and reduce depression. Additionally, AEx may enhance physical rehabilitation by making the brain more receptive to, and consequently improving the response to a rehabilitation treatment. Therefore, combining AEx with physical rehabilitation has the potential to improve multiple parts of stroke recovery. This study will examine the effect of combining AEx with physical rehabilitation on physical and mental function in stroke survivors. By gaining a better understanding of the effects of this combined intervention we aim to advance the rehabilitative care of Veteran stroke survivors.
The purpose of the first portion of this study is to gather feedback from clinicians on the usability of the current system and procedure, so the researchers can make reflex training more useful and usable for improving recovery after spinal cord injury or other nervous system injuries and diseases. The researchers are recruiting 20 therapists who have been actively practicing physical medicine and 30 adults with no known neurological conditions to test system usability and the reflex operant conditioning protocol. For this portion of the study, there are 5 visits.
The purpose of the second part of the study is to validate the capacity of the system to change the size of the targeted reflex. For this the researchers are recruiting 25 individuals with chronic incomplete SCI who have spasticity in the leg to participate in the reflex training procedure. The study involves approximately 45 visits with a total study duration of about 6 months.
The study team is recruiting 20 adults with spasticity due to chronic stroke and 20 adults with no neurological injuries for a 2 day study. In people with chronic stroke, one of the most common and disabling problems is spasticity (increased muscle tone or muscle stiffness). The purpose of this research study is to examine effects of dry needling on the nervous system (pathways between the muscle, spinal cord, and brain) in people with spasticity due to chronic stroke. Dry needling is a procedure in which a thin, stainless steel needle is inserted into your skin to produce a muscle twitch response. It is intended to release a knot in your muscle and relieve pain.
The total study duration is 2 days. The first visit will take about 3 hours, during which dry needling will take place, and the second visit will take about 1 hour. During both visits you will be asked to participate in examinations of reflexes (muscle responses to non-invasive nerve stimulation) and arm/leg function.
We are currently recruiting volunteers who are interested in participating in a brain-spinal cord-muscle response training study that aims to better understand the changes that take place in the nervous system as a result of this type of training. After spinal cord injury, brain-to-muscle connections are often interrupted. Because these connections are important in movement control, when they are not working well, movements may be disturbed. Researchers have found that people can learn to strengthen these connections through training. Strengthening these connections may be able to improve movement control and recovery after injuries.
Research participants will be asked to stand, sit, and walk during the study sessions. Electrodes are placed on the skin over leg muscles for monitoring muscle activity. For examining brain-to-muscle connections, we use transcranial magnetic stimulation. The stimulation is applied over the head and will indirectly stimulate brain cells with little or no discomfort.
Participation in this study requires approximately three sessions per week for four months, followed by two to three sessions over another three months. Each session lasts approximately 1 hour. Participants will receive a mileage reimbursement.
The purpose of this study is to determine if 3-dimensional finger force training is an effective tool in restoring hand function post stroke. Persons who survived a stroke 3 to 12 months ago and have a hand impairment will be eligible to participate in this study. Participants will be asked to come to the laboratory to practice controlling the finger force generation 3 times a week for 6 weeks. Participants will see their performance on a computer screen. Participants will also come to the laboratory for additional 4-7 visits for assessments of their upper extremity function. The total duration of the study will be 2.5 months.
This study explores the use of a new form of neuromodulation known as transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation (taVNS) which stimulates the ear. This stimulation will be delivered concurrently with upper limb motor rehabilitation training (3 days/week for 4 weeks) in chronic stroke patients. Patients will undergo a series of baseline assessments (including a brain scan), a 4-week course of motor rehabilitation, and post-assessments (including a second brain scan).
This research is being done to find out if brain stimulation combined with a rehabilitation therapy improves arm weakness as a result of having a stroke. The stimulation technique is called transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). The treatment uses direct electrical currents to stimulate specific parts of the brain. The rehabilitation therapy is called "modified Constraint Induced Movement Therapy" (mCIMT). During this rehabilitation therapy study participants will wear a mitt on the hand of the arm that was not affected by their stroke. It is designed to restrain the use of the unaffected arm, while performing therapy with impaired one.
It is not known if brain stimulation combined with rehabilitation therapy will improve arm weakness. Study participants will receive rehabilitation therapy while on this study. Study participants may or may not receive the brain stimulation therapy.
Stroke survivors with arm paresis because of stroke use their "good" arm for daily activities, but in doing so may be self-limiting their own recovery of the "bad" arm. Traditional models of stroke rehabilitation fail to fully engage the survivor and care partner(s) in actively planning post-discharge habits that improve their capacity to live well over their entire lives. This study will test a cutting-edge in-person therapy + online training program designed to progressively transfer the responsibility of driving post-stroke recovery from the therapist to the survivor.
Walking after a lower extremity amputation is often difficult. It is important that researchers and clinicians understand the mechanisms that inhibit normal walking function. In this study, we are recruiting individuals with lower extremity limb loss for a walking and balance investigation. We will also be studying matched healthy controls to do similar study procedures. All study procedures will occur on the campus of MUSC by a licensed Physical Therapist and experienced researcher. Any questions should be directed to the coordinator listed.