Genetics of cortical plasticity
These studies examine how genetic factors influence cortical plasticity in healthy human subjects as well as clinical populations. Studies involve baseline assessments, brain mapping using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) or functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), plasticity-inducing intervention, and post-intervention brain mapping. In addition, a small sample of blood is taken and genotyped for several different polymorphisms which may affect an individual’s capacity for plasticity or response to intervention.
We are examining intracranial pressure in human patients with a range of brain disorders. Using digital equipment, we record the pressure waveforms from inside the human brain, usually during an admission to the Intensive Care Unit. A range of analysis methods are applied to better understand how we can use the information extracted from intracranial waveforms to understand, predict, and treat a range of human conditions. These studies are conducted at the UCI Medical Center in Orange, CA.
Hand Wrist Assistive Rehabilitation Device (HWARD) is a pneumatically-actuated device that assists the hand in grasp and in grasp-release movements and was developed with the goal of improving patient ability. Studies on stroke patients with limited feeling and motor function have shown that repetitive training aids in the rehabilitation of the affected arm and hand significantly improves patient ability to grasp and release objects. Recent studies using HWARD yielded patient average scores on the Action Research Arm Test – a device that measures the ability to perform real-world dexterity tests – that had improved nearly 10 percent. Currently, the UCI team is using the information gained from study participants to create a “son of HWARD,” with improved hand-robot connections and more varied software options to individualize therapy and hold the patient’s attention.
Epilepsy is the electrical storms that plague several percent of humans for thousands of years. Our research studies human subjects with and without epilepsy, using functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging methods as well as behavioral testing, to understand how epilepsy affects the brain.
TAPPER (Timing Assistive Plastic Pinball Exercise Robot)
This project evaluates, in healthy and stroke individuals, the effect of
introducing a change in movement timing that will either help or hinder
individuals in accomplishing a new timing-based task, in order to
determine which form of error modification will best induce motor learning
as well as favorable brain plasticity. This study uses a pneumatic
actuated robot—TAPPER— and functional magnetic resonance imaging to
provide insights into the normal process of learning during timing-based
skill acquisition as well as into the learning process following a stroke.
The aim of the current project is to evaluate, in stroke individuals, the
therapeutic effect of 2 different robot trainings—multi vs. individual
joint training-- on brain plasticity and behavioral outcomes of the
affected upper extremity. This study will use a state-of-the-art
robot—BONES--, functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging and
transcranial magnetic resonance methods as well as behavioral testing to
gain insights into brain states that are optimal for treatment gains and
help maximize selection of individual with stroke for a robot-based
A Single-Blind Study of the Safety, Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics
of Escalating Repeat Doses of GSK249320 in Patients With Ischemic Stroke
This study aims to determine if an antibody to myelin-associated
glycoprotein (MAG) is safe in stroke patients.