Fatma Inanici et al demonstrated that transcutaneous spinal cord stimulation could lead to a rapid and sustained recovery of hand and arm function for people with both in complete paralysis and long-term spinal cord injury. The team trained six participants for maximum voluntary grip force and rhythmic grip and release activity in the presence of stimulation in 8 sessions over four weeks. The study noted that the magnitude of the improvements using the non-invasive transcutaneous electrical stimulation matched or exceeded previously reported results from studies of surgically implanted stimulation. Several participants could move their fingers for the first time since injury following stimulation treatment and were able to produce measurable pinch force. Muscle spasticity was also reduced and autonomic functions including heart rate, thermoregulation, and bladder function were improved in the participants. All six participants maintained their gains for at least three to six months beyond stimulation, indicating functional recovery mediated by long-term neuroplasticity within the injured central nervous system.
Source: IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering| 05 January 2021 | PubMed ID: 33400652 DOI: 10.1109/TNSRE.2021.3049133 https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/9314097