Neuras 2: Novel non-invasive stimulation paradigm to improve gait rehabilitation in Spinal Cord Injury

Project Leader: Edwin van Asseldonk
PhD Candidate: Alexander Kuck
People involved: Dick Stegeman, Herman van der Kooij, Peter Veltink.
Companies: TMSI
Clinical Partners: Rehabilitation Centre the Roessingh, Roessingh Research and Development

Subproject 2 strives to improve gait training of spinal cord injury subjects using a combination of neurostimulation and robot aided gait training. Recent studies in animal models and humans have demonstrated that a combination of epidural (invasive) stimulation and appropriate sensory information resulting from assisted walking can result in restoration of supra-spinal control after a complete paralyzing lesion. Here, we develop a novel stimulator and non-invasive stimulation paradigm. We will explore whether this stimulation in combination with robotic support can promote spinal plasticity. Essential is that this combination promotes muscle activity during walking. We will assess the influence of different simulation configurations and variation in the pattern of sensory information on this muscle activity. Furthermore we will investigate the effect of this combination on reflex modulation during walking and we will derive a prediction model based on subject characteristics to predict who is likely to respond to the stimulation.