For more information, visit http://pt.usc.edu/Bench_to_Bedside/.
Dr. Edgerton’s laboratory focuses on two main research questions: How do neural networks in the lumbar spinal cord of mammals, including humans, regain control of standing, stepping and voluntary control of fine movements after paralysis, and how can these motor functions be modified by chronically imposing activity-dependent interventions after spinal cord injury? Largely using animal models of complete paralysis Edgerton and colleagues are aggressively developing and testing these interventions in humans, in an attempt to determine the mechanisms of recovery potential formulated from the perspective of how spinal networks can be “fine-tuned” to facilitate the performance of a wide range of complex motor tasks. Each of these interventions is used to modulate the excitability of spinal networks associated with posture and locomotion to a physiological state that approaches a motor threshold. This is a physiological state that enables motor control by engaging task specific proprioception as well as newly acquired voluntary input to the spinal circuitry. Dr. Edgerton will discuss the impact this work may have in the treatment of SCI.