Non-invasive spinal cord stimulation for cardiovascular recovery following spinal cord injury: A pilot clinical trial

Blood pressure dysfunction following spinal cord injury (SCI) decreases quality of life, delays rehabilitation, and is rated as a top priority for recovery for individuals with SCI. Non-invasive spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is a promising treatment to improve BP control. However, the best position to deliver this therapy along the spine, and the physiological mechanisms behind this therapy, remain unclear.
This study aims to compare the effects of mid-back and lower-back SCS on BP regulation in real time and after long-term stimulation (3x/week for 8 weeks). We will also investigate the mechanisms by which both real-time and long-term stimulation improves BP control. We will do this by performing analysis on heart rate and BP signals, and measure blood biomarkers. The results from this pilot clinical trial will provide the necessary evidence to conduct a larger multi-center clinical trial.
This award is co-funded by the Canadian Training Platform for Trials Leveraging Existing Networks (CAN-TAP-TALENT) and is a part of the Canadian Clinical Trials Platform competition.

SuPA Mobility: Supporting Physical Activity for Older Adults with Limited Mobility

Health Research BC is providing match funds for the Canadian Training Platform for Trial Leveraging Existing Networks (CAN-TAP-TALENT) Post-Doctoral Fellowship Award 2023. 


Dr. Jordyn Rice, PT, DPT, PhD is a post-doctoral fellow in the Aging, Mobility, and Cognitive Health Lab, working under the supervision of Professor Teresa Liu-Ambrose, Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Healthy Aging.  


The SuPA Mobility Trial is a Vancouver based randomized controlled trial using a health coaching intervention aimed to promote physical activity in older adults with limited mobility.  


As individuals age​,​ they have a greater risk of limited mobility, or difficulty in getting around safely in one’s environment. Limited mobility is linked to illness, disease, and decreased quality of life in older adults. Supervised group exercise that increases physical activity by only 6 minutes per day has been shown to have beneficial effects on mobility. However, supervised exercise programs may be difficult to accomplish on a large scale due to the significant resources needed to manage such programs.   


This research will evaluate: 1) the effectiveness of a 26-week health coaching program to  increase physical activity in older adults with limited mobility by at least 50 minutes per week​;​​ and 2) differences between health coaching compared to a control group on overall activity level, walking speed, cognition or thinking ability, mood, and quality of life.    


Increasing physical activity through the use of health coaching has the potential to improve mobility ​in aging​ adults with limited mobility. The results of this study will be used to provide future guidance on physical exercise programs for older adults that may be deliverable on a broader scale.   

CAN TAP TALENT & Michael Smith Health Research BC Post-Doctoral Fellowship 2023 award

Health Research BC is providing matching funds for this postdoctoral fellowship, which is funded by the CAN-TAP-TALENT clinical trials training program.  


Approximately 15-20% of patients who have COVID-19 will develop long-term symptoms as part of what is now known as post-COVID-19 condition (PCC) or ‘long COVID’. Those suffering from PCC can experience debilitating fatigue that can last for over 18 months. The pattern of fatigue experienced by some PCC patients is similar to what has been experienced by patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis/ chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). This subtype of PCC can be called post-COVID fatigue syndrome (PCFS). Currently there are no medications that have been proven to be helpful for fatigue in patients with PCC or ME/CFS. However, a low dose of the medication naltrexone (low dose naltrexone, LDN) has been prescribed off-label. 


In this randomized controlled trial (Principal Investigator: Dr. Luis Nacul), we will investigate whether LDN is able to reduce fatigue severity in patients with PCFS. We will recruit patients from the Post-COVID-19 Interdisciplinary Clinical Care Network (PC-ICCN) directory and REACH BC platform. We have made in-person participation optional so that patients from throughout BC (and not just Vancouver) will be able to participate. Participants will be randomized to receive LDN or placebo capsules. We will follow participants for 16 weeks and determine whether they have improvement in their fatigue severity, as well as other outcomes such as quality of life and step count. This is one of the first clinical trials for PCC in Canada, and the results could inform treatment for the millions of individuals struggling with this illness.