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Thursday, September 3 2020
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Neuromodualtory Interventions for Facilitating Neuromotor Function in Humans

Minoru Shinohara, Ph.D.
School of Biological Sciences

Georgia Institute of Technology

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Human motor function is impaired with neurological disorders and injuries such as spinal cord injury and stroke. Among others, reduced neural excitability of the motor cortex and unintended co-activation of antagonistic (i.e. opposing) muscles are the major neurological problems associated with the impaired motor function. Conventional rehabilitation strategies of repeating motion practice have limitations in regaining neuromotor function in clinical populations. Hence, novel approaches are needed that can further facilitate neuromodulation and thereby rehabilitation outcome. By considering neurophysiological integration in humans, we have designed unique approaches: noninvasive perturbations to the autonomic nervous system (i.e., orthostatic stress, afferent vagus nerve stimulation) for modulating corticospinal excitability and motor control, paired stimulation of the afferent and efferent nervous systems for modulating corticospinal excitability, and anti-phasic co-activation practice for modulating common neuromotor oscillations during voluntary contraction and motor control. I plan to discuss our experimental studies that have examined the efficacy of these unique approaches in healthy adults. The fundamental findings on the efficacy in healthy individuals have laid the foundation for studying the application of the new interventions to clinical populations.

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