Rehabilitation and Neural Engineering Laboratory

Mapping Sensorimotor Brain Activity

Study Goal

The information gained from this research study will be useful for developing technology or rehabilitation strategies to assist people with spinal cord injuries.

There are no direct benefits.

Study Summary

The human brain is a fascinating place. The brain sends and receives information from the rest of the body via the spinal cord. Many individuals have diseases or injuries which disrupt this connection between the brain and certain parts of the body. However, those movement signals are still active.

Using functional MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), we can create a map of different kinds of brain activity. In this study we want to locate the specific brain regions for movement signals and sensory awareness associated with movement. We will measure brain activity in people with and without spinal cord injury.

This research study takes approximately 6 hours to complete, including 4 hours of MRI scan time (2 separate scans, 2 hours each) plus questionnaires and a brief functional assessment. Breaks are included, as needed.

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Are you age 18 or older? 
  • Are you right-handed?
  • Do you have normal vision (glasses are OK)?
  • Able-bodied person: Are you a U.S. Veteran?
  • Person with SCI: Do you have a cervical spinal cord injury that occurred at least one year ago?
  • Person with SCI: Do you have decreased or absent sensation in your fingers, and in your chest and below?

Exclusion Criteria: 

Subjects must not have a pacemaker, baclofen pump, cochlear implant or other electronic implanted device.

  • Subjects must not have a metallic implant that is unsafe for 3T MRI.
  • Female subjects of childbearing age must not be pregnant.
  • Subjects must not weigh over 300 lbs. (because of MRI risks/space).
  • Able-bodied individuals: Subjects must not have a history of neurologic disease, motor impairment or acute or chronic pain.

Principal Investigator

Jennifer Collinger, PhD

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Additional Information

Brain Mapping Flyer