Intrinsic capacity of spinal circuits for restoration of motor coordination after neurotrauma

While the brain is the body’s command centre, connections within the spinal cord control rhythmic activities like walking. The brain contributes to such movements, but spinal cord circuits can coordinate muscle activity on their own, relying on feedback from moving limbs to regulate the pattern. When these connections are lost or altered due to injury to the brain or spinal cord, movement in the arms and legs may be greatly reduced depending on the location and severity of the injury. Dr. Paul Zehr’s research focuses on improving understanding of how coordinated muscle activity in arms and legs can be improved after neurotrauma. He is working with individuals who have had strokes or spinal cord injuries to determine the extent to which enhanced sensory feedback techniques can retrain spinal cord circuits and improve limb coordination. New knowledge gained from this research may lead to more effective methods of improving motor coordination following brain or spinal cord injury.