Spatial Neglect (SN) is defined as pathological asymmetric spatial behavior causing functional disability and occurs in greater than 50% of individuals with right hemisphere stroke. SN post-stroke is associated with increased fall risk, increased hospital length of stay, poorer rehabilitation outcomes, and severe long-term disability. Prism adaptation therapy (PAT) is an evidence-based treatment for SN after stroke, however, the effects of SN on gait are not well known. Neuromuscular electrical stimulation delivered via surface electrodes is a common therapeutic adjunct in stroke rehabilitation, including for SN and gait training. However, the additive therapeutic effects of combining electrical stimulation and PAT, as well as the effects of motor training on gait deficits associated with SN are poorly understood. Furthermore, although there is limited literature examining the effects of electrical stimulation on corticospinal tract output (CST), there is an inadequate understanding of the neural mechanisms of PAT and the combinatorial effects of PAT with electrical stimulation. To parse out the neural mechanisms of PAT and electrical stimulation on the visuospatial system, researchers will first examine the effects of PAT with or without electrical stimulation in neurologically unimpaired adults, researchers will then compare results to individuals with stroke with spatial neglect.
The primary objective is to study the effects of PAT on visuospatial behavior and motor cortical excitability in able-bodied individuals (young and older), and on spatial neglect, motor cortical neurophysiology, and walking function in individuals post-stroke.
The long-term goal of this project is to develop novel, effective, and personalized rehabilitation protocols targeting SN deficits and gait dysfunction to reduce disability in stroke survivors. The rationale of this project is to explore and generate data regarding future novel combinatorial motor-spatial retraining approaches that will enhance the rehabilitation approach of SN and gait performance in individuals post-stroke.
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