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The MAL has launched a study entitled “EMG modules as a novel biomarker of basal ganglia plasticity in Parkinson’s disease”. The study funded by the Michael J. Fox Foundation aims to identify specific characteristics of muscle activity that could be linked to changes within the brain that are associated with Parkinson’s disease.

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The Effect of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Combined with Upper-Extremity Training in a Virtual Environment in Chronic Stroke Survivors

Stroke is a major cause of disability. There are approximately 730,300 new cases in the United States annually. Limited motor recovery in the paretic upper limb accounts for a large proportion of the disabling sequelae. Only about 15% of those with initial complete upper-limb paralysis after stroke recover functional use of their impaired arm in daily life. Intensity and specificity of motor training is key to achieving recovery of motor functions. Robotics has gained the interest of researchers as a means to achieve high intensity and specificity of motor training.

In the proposed project, we plan to use the Armeo robotic system to deliver motor training therapy to stroke survivors. The objective of this study is to demonstrate that transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), combined with upper-extremity functional task training in a virtual environment, is more effective than functional task training in the virtual environment with sham tDCS as indexed by motor function assessments.  We intend to compare kinematic data following ARMEO training with active tDCS vs sham tDCS, using data provided by the Armeo system, clinical outcome measures and data derived from the analysis of upper extremity movements using a camera-based motion analysis system.