Epidural stimulation of the cervical spinal cord for post-stroke upper-limb paresis

Cerebral strokes can disrupt descending commands from motor cortical areas to the spinal cord, which can result in permanent motor deficits of the arm and hand. However, below the lesion, the spinal circuits that control movement remain intact and could be targeted by neurotechnologies to restore movement. Here we report results from two participants in a first-in-human study using electrical stimulation of cervical spinal circuits to facilitate arm and hand motor control in chronic post-stroke hemiparesis.
We found that continuous stimulation through selected contacts improved strength, kinematics and functional movements, thereby enabling participants to perform movements that they could not perform without spinal cord stimulation. While we cannot conclusively evaluate safety and efficacy from two participants, our data provide promising, albeit preliminary, evidence that spinal cord stimulation could be an assistive as well as a restorative approach for upper-limb recovery after stroke.
Author(s) Source
Powell MP, Verma N, Sorensen E et al. Nat Med (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-022-02202-6
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