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Spinal Reflex Training Study With Incomplete Injury

The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) has been at the forefront of latest advances in spinal cord injury rehabilitation services. Now, scientists in the Center for Rehabilitation Research in Neurological Conditions at MUSC (located at 77 President Street) are conducting clinical research focused on restoring function in individuals who have sustained spinal cord injuries.

They are currently recruiting volunteers who are interested in participating in a spinal reflex training research study (for those with an incomplete injury up to T-12). After spinal cord injury, reflex functions often change. Because reflexes play an important part in movement and behavior, when reflexes are not working well, movements may be disturbed.  Researchers have found that people can learn to increase or decrease a reflex response through training. Learning to change a reflex response in an appropriate direction may be effective in improving movement function recovery.

Research participants are asked to stand, sit, or sometimes walk during the study session. Surface electrodes are placed on the skin over leg muscles for monitoring muscle activity and over a nerve to produce reflex responses. Nerve stimulation may cause a brief mild sensation. The procedure is non-invasive.

Participation in this study requires approximately three sessions per week for three months, followed by four to eight sessions over another two to three months. Each session lasts approximately 1 hour. Reimbursement for travel and some stipends for participation are available. Individuals coming from a distance may be able to stay in accessible housing near the hospital’s campus during their times of participation.

This initiative is a natural extension of MUSC’s Spinal Cord Injury services and is evidence of our deep commitment to helping individuals who have sustained these injuries to rebuild their lives. We hope you may be able to assist us by spreading the word about this research.

Call Christina Thompson at 843-792-6313, or email Christina at thompchr [at] musc.edu, if you have any questions or need additional information.