Wrist Extensor MEP Up-conditioning for Individuals With Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury


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The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between common clinical assessments and measurements of the function of brain-spinal cord-muscle connections, and to examine the effects of training a brain-spinal cord-muscle response in individuals with incomplete spinal cord injury. A transcranial magnetic stimulator (TMS) is used for examining brain-to-muscle pathways. This stimulator produces a magnetic field for a very short period of time and indirectly stimulates brain cells with little or no discomfort. The target muscle is the wrist extensor (extensor carpi radialis) muscle that bends the wrist back. It is hypothesized that training the wrist extensor muscle response to transcranial magnetic stimulation will increase the strength of the brain-to-muscle pathway, which will improve the ability to move the arm.

It is hoped that the results of this training study will help in developing therapy strategies for individuals, promoting better understanding of clinical assessments, and understanding treatments that aim to improve function recovery in people with spinal cord injury (SCI).

This study requires 30 visits, and each visit will last approximately 1.5 hours.

Study Overview

Start Date
October 12, 2021
Completion Date
June 30, 2024
Date Posted
April 11, 2022
Accepts Healthy Volunteers?


Full Address
Medical University of South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina 29425, United States


Minimum Age (years)
Eligibility Criteria
Inclusion Criteria:

a history of injury to spinal cord at or above C6
neurologically stable (>6 mo post SCI)
medical clearance to participate
weak wrist extension at least unilaterally
expectation that current medication will be maintained without change for at least 3 months. Stable use of anti-spasticity medication (e.g., baclofen, diazepam, tizanidine) is accepted. In participants with bilateral wrist extension weakness, the more severely impaired arm is studied.

Exclusion Criteria:

motoneuron injury
medically unstable condition
cognitive impairment
a history of epileptic seizures
metal implants in the cranium
implanted biomedical device in or above the chest (e.g., a cardiac pacemaker, cochlear implant)
no measurable MEP elicited in the ECR
unable to produce any voluntary ECR EMG activity
extensive use of functional electrical stimulation to the arm on a daily basis
pregnancy (due to changes in posture and potential medical instability).

Study Contact Info

Study Contact Name
Blair Dellenbach, MSOT
Study Contact Email
Study Contact Phone

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