2017-2018 Pilot Project Grant Awardees

Michael Borich, DPT, Ph.D.

Emory University, Rehabilitation Medicine

Understanding the Specificity of Cortico-Cortical Paired Associative Stimulation in Chronic Stroke

Stroke is the leading cause of long-term adult disability with more than half of all stroke survivors living with significant persistent arm dysfunction. The proposed project will investigate the specificity of neuroplasticity induced by cortico-cortical paired associative stimulation (ccPAS), a promising non-invasive brain stimulation approach, and the effects of ccPAS on motor skill performance and learning in chronic stroke. Determining the specific effects of ccPAS on neural activity and paretic arm movement provides a necessary foundation to understand how to personalize ccPAS delivery for each stroke survivor.

Chandramouli Krishnan, Ph.D.

University of Michigan, Physical Medicine, and Rehabilitation Hospital

Operant Conditioning of Motor Evoked Torque Responses to Improve Quadriceps Function in Individuals With Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction

Quadriceps weakness and activation failure develops rapidly after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury and have been associated with altered gait patterns, reduced functional performance, and poor long-term knee health-related quality of life. Diminished excitability of the corticospinal pathways is a known cause of poor quadriceps strength and voluntary activation; thus, improving corticospinal excitability may assist in the recovery of quadriceps function after ACL surgery. In this proposal, we would like to test the feasibility of operant conditioning of the motor evoked torque responses (and the associated motor evoked potentials) to improve quadriceps function in individuals with ACL reconstruction.

Eric Larson, Ph.D., ABPP-CN

Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital, Director of Psychology, and Brain Injury

tDCS Paired With Cognitive Computer Training to Enhance Behavioral and Functional Outcomes Following Traumatic Brain Injury

Cognitive impairments are long-term issues for survivors of moderate-severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). The purpose of this randomized pilot trial is to evaluate the use of tDCS to enhance the effects of a cognitive computer training intervention provided three time per week for four weeks to persons with a history of TBI at least one year post injury. Outcome measures will include changes on neuropsychological measures, functional outcomes, and quality of life outcomes.

Carrie L. Peterson, Ph.D.

Virginia Commonwealth University, Biomedical Engineering

Intermittent Theta Burst Stimulation to Promote Motor Re-education After Upper Limb Reconstruction in Tetraplegia

Upper limb reconstruction is a rehabilitative option for individuals with tetraplegia, which surgically relocates a tendon or nerve of a non-paralyzed muscle to perform the function of or innervate a paralyzed muscle. The long-term goal of our research is to determine whether intermittent theta burst stimulation (iTBS) combined with physical rehabilitation can improve motor re-education after reconstruction. As a first step, the purpose of this project is to determine the effect of iTBS on corticomotor excitability of proximal muscles in non-impaired individuals and two groups of individuals with tetraplegia: individuals with and without upper limb reconstruction.

Gonzalo Revuelta, M.D.

Medical University of South Carolina, Neurology

Resetting Cortical Control in Freezing of Gait

There is growing evidence of increased cortical control of gait when patients with Parkinson's disease exhibit freezing of gait. We have reported that freezing can resolve following periods of immobilization. This project aims to release cortical governance of gait with inhibitory TMS followed by rehabilitation as a potential treatment for this condition.