ASU secures $3.9 million to study spinal cord injuries and neurological disorders

t, diagnosis and treatment of neurologically degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's as well as traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries and stroke. A grant to purchase a state-of-the-art magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spectroscopy system will provide scientists an opportunity to advance basic biomedical discoveries aimed at improving human health.

The $1.3 million high-resolution, 7.0 Tesla magnetic imaging system will allow 2-D and 3-D image reconstruction. With a resolution below 100 micrometers, the system allows researchers to see tissues or structures smaller than the width of a human hair.

In addition to Jung, other team members on this project include faculty from the schools of life sciences and engineering at ASU, Eric Reiman, M.D. from Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center; Mark Preul, M.D. and Adrienne Scheck, M.D., Barrows Neurological Institute.

Adaptive Electrical Stimulation for Locomotor Retraining

Recent studies indicate that individuals with spinal cord injury may be able to enhance their functional recovery of movement by performing repetitive stepping movements. Currently, individuals perform this therapy on a treadmill supported by a harness and passive assistance provided by therapists. The repetition is believed to help the body to re-learn how to generate suitable signals in the brain and spinal cord that will enable them to step independently.

With the $850,000 grant from NIH's National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research, Abbas and Jung will develop a neuroprosthetic system to electrically stimulate muscles to produce repeatable stepping movements with coordinated sensory and motor patterns. By using the stimulation to contract the muscles in an orchestrated manner that mimics natural muscle movement, the team hopes to improve the therapy and reduce reliance on a supportive harness. The adaptive nature of the control mechanism puts some 'intelligence' in the system to provide

Contact: Gretchen Dobosz
Arizona State University

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