Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Lab
Overall goals the lab is to understand the physiology and plasticity of the sensorimotor system in health and in patients with spinal cord and brain injury and to use that knowledge to develop new surrogate markers of recovery, new methods of injury prognostication and new therapies for spinal cord and brain injury.
Research in this section uses noninvasive multimodal methodologies including functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI), diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), electroencephalography (EEG), somatosensory evoked potentials (SEP), and peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS) technologies to gain a comprehensive understanding of the physiology and plasticity of the sensorimotor system in healthy patients and in patients with spinal cord and brain injury. Ongoing projects include:
· Correlation of longitudinal electrophysiological, neuroimaging and neurological recovery data
· Assessment of the impact of age and genetic polymorphisms on plasticity and neurological outcomes in health and spinal cord/brain injury
· The role of spinal diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in the evaluation of spinal cord injury
· Evaluation of mechanisms and outcomes of modulation of spinal cord physiology and plasticity using spinal electrical or spinal magnetic stimulation.
· Development of novel neuroimaging and electrophysiology based methods of injury prognostication.
· Mechanisms of action of epidural spinal cord stimulation in activation of central pattern generator
· Mechanisms of use-dependent plasticity and metaplasticity
· Intraoperative epidural recording studies in spinal cord injury
· Modulation of D and I waves in patients with epidural electrodes
· Therapeutic uses of noninvasive brain and spinal cord electrical and magnetic stimulation
· Head and spinal cord injury biomarker assessment and correlation with long-term clinical and quality of life outcomes
· Multimodal evaluation of severity and prognosis and plasticity in of traumatic brain injury
Animal Spinal Cord Injury Studies Section
Transcranial magnetic stimulation studies in healthy and spinal cord injury transgenic mice and rats are performed. The lab uses recently developed rat TMS methodology to explore the pathophysiology and plasticity of neurological recovery after SCI. Ongoing projects in development include:
· Assessment of the impact of age and genetic polymorphisms on plasticity and recovery after SCI.
· Assessment of the utility of TMS in tracking recovery after various therapeutic strategies-stem cells, neuroprotective, and spinal regenerative therapies.
· Correlation of electrophysiological, neuroimaging and behavioral data
· Development of combined spinal cord and brain injury animal model
We direct the Department of Neurosurgery membership activities of the North American Clinical Trial network (NACTN). We also oversee the departmental spine trauma and spinal cord injury database.
The following clinical trials are ongoing:
· Use of Riluzole, a sodium channel blocker in acute spinal cord injury-University of Louisville department of neurosurgery participates in this phase 2 multicenter clinical trial