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Project

MRI Assessment of Motor Unit Firing and Spasticity after Spinal Cord Injury

Funder: Craig H Neilsen Foundation

Funding period
USD 150 K
Funding amount
Abstract
We will conduct a study of human spinal cord injury to better our understanding of the etiology of spasticity and identify MRI biomarkers of spasticity severity and functional outcomes. In the chronic SCI population, over 70% of individuals develop spasticity that impacts activities of daily living, quality of life, and healthcare costs. Despite its prevalence, current clinical measures of spasticity are lacking because they are based on severity of uncontrolled muscle contractions and have little correlations with function. This is likely due to the fact that the etiology of the condition is incompletely explored. Normally, motor unit firing rates are largely modulated and amplified by the activation of persistent inward currents (PICs). Inhibition from descending inputs arising from supraspinal centers turns off these PICs. This inhibition is likely disrupted by the spinal cord injury, denying motoneurons of descending inputs necessary for inhibiting motoneuron activity – leading to spasticity. The current metrics of spasticity are not based on objective measures of muscle activation; therefore, objectives measures of spasticity based on actual muscle activation patterns are needed for more valuable insight to spasticity with a goal of translating this information to effective management strategies. Identifying axonal loss and its relation to hyper-excitable motoneuron activity can provide new insights to the causes of spasticity and possibly provide a new modality for objectively quantifying spasticity and its impact on function. Diffusion weighted MRI has shown promise in identifying axonal injury/loss in SCI. This project will use novel MRI techniques to advance our understanding of spasticity after a spinal cord injury and its functional impact. (CHN: SCIRTS chn:wdg)
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System

Categories
  • FOR (ANZSRC)

    1109 Neurosciences

  • RCDC

    Injury (total) Accidents/Adverse Effects

  • RCDC

    Injury - Trauma - (Head and Spine)

  • RCDC

    Neurosciences

  • RCDC

    Spinal Cord Injury

  • RCDC

    Clinical Research

  • RCDC

    Neurodegenerative

  • HRCS HC

    Neurological

  • Health Research Areas

    Biomedical

  • Broad Research Areas

    Clinical Medicine and Science