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Pilot Project Awards

National Center of Neuromodulation for Rehabilitation 2016 Pilot Project Awardees



Andrew Goldfine, M.D.
Stony Brook University, Neurology

“Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) in Chronic Post-Stroke Apathy”

Apathy occurs in approximately 1/3 of patients after stroke and worsens recovery and outcome, yet the mechanism is not known and there is no proven treatment. Our and others' data suggest that it is due to prefrontal dysfunction from direct injury, or disconnection from basal ganglia or thalamus. Here we plan to use tDCS over prefrontal lobe to test this hypothesis as well as to determine if tDCS may serve as a treatment for post-stroke apathy.



Emily Grattan, Ph.D., OTR/L
Medical University of South Carolina, Health Science & Research

“Examining The Effects of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation And Task Specific Practice on Cortical Modulation Among Individuals with Unilateral Neglect Post Stroke”            

The purpose of the proposed pilot project is to examine the effects of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) paired with repetitive task-specific practice (RTP) on modulation of fronto-parietal connectivity (measured by transcranial magnetic stimulation) among individuals with unilateral neglect and hemiparesis post stroke. This three day cross-over design study will also examine the optimal electrode placement and montage using 3 conditions: (1) bihemispheric tDCS to parietal lobe + RTP (2) bihemispheric tDCS to primary motor cortex + RTP (3) sham tDCS + RTP.



Jane Joseph, Ph.D.
Medical University of South Carolina, Neurosciences

“Learning Enhancement Through NeuroStimulation” (LENS)

This project will use tDCS in combination with social skills learning in adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder to assess whether neurostimulation enhances social information processing. fMRI scanning will be used pre- and post-intervention to assess whether neurostimulation affects neurocircuitry related to social awareness and social anxiety.



Gerwin Schalk Ph.D.   
Wadsworth Center/NYS Department of Health, National Center for Adaptive Neurotechnologies

“First Step in Creating a Reflex Conditioning System for Clinical Use”

Recent studies indicate that operant conditioning of the soleus H-reflex can improve walking in people with partial spinal cord injuries. Further clinical testing and wide dissemination of this promising new non-invasive therapeutic approach depend on development and validation of a robust clinically practical system that can be used by therapists in the clinic and ultimately by patients in their homes. The goal of this one-year project is to produce and validate a functioning prototype of this system.



Amit Sethi, Ph.D., OTR/L                
University of Pittsburgh, Occupational Therapy

“Combined Non-Invasive Transcranial Random Noise Current Stimulation and Functional Electrical Stimulation to Improve Hand Movement In Individuals with Moderate-to-Severe Impairments after Chronic Stroke”

The current project aims to examine the neural mechanisms associated with change in hand movement in individuals with chronic stroke who receive combined non-invasive transcranial random noise current stimulation and functional electrical stimulation. Individuals will receive a total of 18 treatment sessions, three times a week for 6 weeks. We will examine measures of corticospinal excitability using transcranial magnetic stimulation before and after the treatment to understand the mechanisms influencing the treatment response and identify responders of the treatment.


James Sulzer, Ph.D
The University of Texas at Austin, Mechanical Engineering
“FMRI Operant conditioning of Fine Motor Skills”
After stroke, discoordination often prevents functional hand use, and recent research suggests that improved coordination is associated with specific cortical changes.  The goal of this work is to induce these changes via neuromodulation.  We will compare and contrast two different methods, rTMS and fMRI neurofeedback, in their ability to restore finger individuation in mildly impaired, chronic stroke patients.


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