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Preservation of Functional Descending Input to Paralyzed Upper Extremity Muscles in Motor Complete Cervical Spinal Cord Injury

Clinical Neurophysiology
Edited from Clinical Neurophysiology

Spinal cord injury (SCI) is classified as complete or incomplete depending on the extent of sensorimotor preservation below the injury level. However, individuals with complete SCIs can voluntarily activate paralyzed lower limb muscles alone or by engaging non-paralyzed muscles during neurophysiological assessments, indicating presence of residual pathways across the injury. However, similar phenomena have not been explored for the upper extremity (UE) muscles following cervical SCIs.

Eighteen individuals with motor complete cervical SCI (AIS A or B) and five age-matched non-injured (NI) individuals performed various UE events against manual resistance during functional neurophysiological assessment (FNPA), and electromyographic (EMG) activity was recorded from UE muscles.

Our findings demonstrated:

  • Voluntary activation of clinically paralyzed muscles as evident from EMG readouts
  • Increased activity in these muscles during events engaging muscles above the injury level
  • Reduced spectral properties of paralyzed muscles in SCI compared to NI participants.

This article was authored by:

  • Pawan Sharma
  • Ahmed Naglah
  • Sevda Aslan
  • Fahmi Khalifa
  • Ayman El-Baz
  • Susan Harkema
  • Jessica D’Amico

Read the entire Published Article in Clinical Neurophysiology

Posted in Publications