Researchers at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) seek normal healthy volunteers for a study on the enhancement of motor learning in the human spinal cord using different training tasks. The study will determine whether practice of a complex locomotor pattern results in more prominent behavioral gains (measured as control of stepping speed) than practice of a simple locomotor pattern, and will evaluate performance improvements in a daily life fundamental locomotor function, such as control of stepping speed, associated with different motor training tasks. This knowledge is important for the design of rational and effective rehabilitation strategies after brain and spinal cord lesions.
The study will include locomotor training (stepping), peripheral nerve electrical stimulation, and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).
Participants eligible for the study are normal healthy volunteers who are able to walk for 15 minutes based on neurological and physical exams. A partial list of ineligibility criteria includes persons with a history of heart condition, unresponsive arterial hypertension, diabetes, chronic back pain, sciatica, peripheral neuropathy, rheumatoid arthritis, active joint deformity of arthritic origin, alcohol or drug abuse, psychiatric disorder, head injury with loss of consciousness, epilepsy, cardiac pacemakers, intracardiac lines, and implanted medication pumps.
The study will take place at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD. All study-related expenses will be paid by the NIH.
For more information, contact Shashi Ravindran, R.N., M.P.H., Clinical Research Coordinator, Human Cortical Physiology Section, NINDS, NIH, Building 10, Room 5C40, 10 Center Drive MSC 1430, Bethesda, MD 20892-1430; telephone: 301-402-1916; fax: 301-480-2286.