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Upper Extremity Motor Function Lab

The Stroke Rehabilitation Research Upper Extremity Initiative

Upper Extremity Lab set-up

Analysis of arm movement in the Upper Extremity motion capture laboratory.

Student Research Day 2012

Masters of Occupational Therapy Students won 1st place at the 2012 MUSC Student Research Day.

Virtual Reality System

Our novel virtual-reality assisted rehabilitation program, developed in collaboration with the Clemson School of Computing, won 2nd place in the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2012 international competition and was recognized in the MUSC Catalyst.   To see Patrick Dukes, a Clemson PhD student who helped develop the software talk about it, click here.

Research Coordinators

Research Coordinators Jenna Nott
and Andrew Fortune.

We are an inter-professional team of investigators striving to improve stroke survivors’ ability to use their paretic arm during meaningful daily activities. We are studying new ways to design neurorehabilitation programs, integrate cutting-edge brain stimulation methods and/or technologies (such as virtual reality-assisted movement practice) into rehabilitation programs and precisely measure upper extremity movement and function.

Our research is supported, in part, by the NIH COBRE for Stroke Recovery and the National Center of Neuromodulation for Rehabilitation. In addition, we are excited to collaborate with the  MUSC College of Health Professions Division of Occupational Therapy, MUSC College of Medicine Department of Neurosciencea virtual rehabilitation company Recovr LLC, and local neurorehabilitation therapy clinics. Occupational therapy students, medical residents, pre-or post-doctoral trainees, and neurorehabilitation therapists are often involved in lab-related events and have many opportunities to experience neurorehabilitation research in action, collaborate on research projects, and present their work at scientific or professional conferences.   

Equipment and Layout

The investigators have available 1800 square feet of research laboratory space including rooms for clinical assessment, rehabilitation treatment, upper limb motion capture, virtual reality/haptics, and EEG. The motion capture rooms are equipped with two sets of 8 camera 3-D Motion Capture System (PhaseSpace, Inc.), an Ascension electromagnetic motion capture system for fine finger motion detection, MR-compatible Data Gloves, a 32 Channel EMG System, two AMTI force plates for assessment of ground reaction forces during standing and seated reach, two ATI 6-axis miniature force sensors for grip force measurement, and ActiGraph Upper Extremity Activity Accelerometers. The virtual reality room is equipped with Duck Duck Punch (a custom designed interactive computer game for stroke rehabilitation), a Premium 6DOF Haptic Device (3D Systems, Inc.), P5 Gloves, and Microsoft Kinect sensors. The EEG room is equipped with a 96 channel active EEG system and a 96 channel MR EEG system (Brain Products, GmbH). In addition, Advanced Statistical Analysis Software Programs are used to perform Item Response Theory and Structural Equation Modeling. As part of the MUSC COBRE for Stroke Recovery, we also work closely with investigators from the Brain Stimulation and Imaging Cores: A room adjacent to our lab is equipped with paired and repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) systems and a Brainsight TMS navigation system. A research-dedicated 3T MR scanner is located approximately 1 block from our research building. 

Current Research Projects

Partnership for Physical Rehabilitation Post Stroke
Sponsor: PCORI  |  PI: Na Jin Seo and Co-PI: Michelle Woodbury
The objective of this project is to build a team of stroke survivors, caregivers, and clinicians who are devoted to improving post-stroke rehabilitation outcomes in order to develop community-driven research questions and answer those important questions to enhance the quality of lives of those impacted. LEARN MORE

Sensory Stimulation to Enhance Hand Function Post Stroke
Sponsor: NIH-NIGMS COBRE Pilot Project P20 GM109040  |  PI: Na Jin Seo
The objective of this project is to assess the impact of the vibrotactile stimulation applied to the wrist during a standardized hand therapy program on hand functional outcomes in chronic stroke survivors. This impact is assessed in a double-blind stratified randomized controlled trial. LEARN MORE 

Patient-Targeted Upper Extremity Rehabilitation After Stroke
Sponsor: Ralph H. Johnson Veterans Administration Medical Center  |  PI: Michelle Woodbury
This study is investigating the effects of an upper extremity stroke rehabilitation program that is targeted at specific movement impairments and systematically progressed according to patients’ evolving ability-level. The treatment effect of the targeted-therapy program is compared to standard of care neurorehabilitation program with clinical assessment, kinematic analyses, and EMG analyses. LEARN MORE

The Halo Neurosciences Motor Stroke Rehabilitation Clinical Trial
Sponsor: Halo Neuroscience Corporation | PIs: Michelle Woodbury and Wayne Feng
This study is testing the effects of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) + intensive occupational therapy compared to sham tDCS + intensive occupational therapy on arm motor function in a sample of chronic stroke patients. LEARN MORE

Telerehabilitation in the Home versus In-Clinic for Patients with Stroke
Sponsor: NIH-NINDS StrokeNet |  MUSC Site PI: Michelle Woodbury
The objective of this project is to test the effectiveness of a novel home-based telehealth system designed to improve arm motor recovery and patient education after stroke. This study is taking place at 8 sites nationwide. # NCT02360488 LEARN MORE

A Virtual Reality Environment for Post-Stroke Upper Extremity Motor Rehabilitation
Sponsor: IDeA NIH-NIGMS U54-GM104941 DE-ACCEL Pilot Project  |  PI: Michelle Woodbury
The purpose of this study is to test the feasibility of a new virtual reality environment for rehabilitation of arm and hand movement after stroke. The novel virtual reality system enables a person who has limited arm movement in the real world to appear to have normal movement in the virtual world. LEARN MORE

Delays in Muscle Relaxation: A Novel Approach to Neuromechanism-based Stroke Rehabilitation
Sponsor: AHA |  PI: Na Jin Seo
The objective of this project is to determine neural mechanisms of abnormal delay  in relaxing muscles among stroke survivors. The goal is to improve current knowledge and treatment strategies for post-stroke abnormal muscle activities and to improve hand function in activities of daily living.


Michelle Woodbury, PhD, OTR/LWuwel (Wayne) Feng, M.D., MSNa Jin Seo, Ph.D.

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