Main Article Content
By Saira Matthews, Neuropsychology
Advisor: Oluwole Awosika
Presentation ID: PM_B07
Abstract: Locomotor impairment after a stroke is due to the loss of adequate lower extremity function and is a major cause of disability in the United States. Nearly two-thirds of stroke survivors may experience significant limitations in walking and are at high risk for falls and fractures. The three most prevalent causes of locomotor impairment are lower extremity weakness, spasticity and gait instability. Herein, we investigated backward locomotor treadmill training paired with transcutaneous spinal direct current stimulation (BLT+tsDCS), as a novel approach to improve forward over-ground locomotion in stroke survivors. This study used a double-blinded, randomized control, parallel trial design. We recruited and randomly allocated 36 community-dwelling individuals at least six months from their stroke, to an experimental (N=15) or control group (N=15). The experimental group underwent 30 minutes of BLT+ tsDCS, three days per week for two weeks, while the control group (BLT+sham tsDCS) undertook the same dose of training. Outcome measures were collected at baseline, end of the training session (Week 2), and two weeks after the cessation of intervention (Week 4). The results of this study suggest that BLT+tsDCS is a feasible and efficacious training for stroke survivors. The results also suggest that BLT+tsDCS enhances the rate and retention of locomotor training in stroke survivors compared to the control group (BLT+ sham tsDCS).