Restoration of arm and hand functions via noninvasive cervical cord neuromodulation after traumatic brain injury: a case study

Qiuyang Qian, Yan To Ling, Hui Zhong, Yong Ping Zheng, Monzurul Alam

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To investigate the effects of transcutaneous electrical stimulation (tES) on upper limb functional rehabilitation in a patient with traumatic brain injury (TBI), and to identify the optimum stimulation parameters of tES. Design: A preliminary case study. Methods: Two successive interventions: Phase I–voluntary physical training (vPT) and Phase II–tES along with vPT (tES+vPT). tES was delivered at C3 and C6 cervical regions. Clinical assessments presented the variation of muscle tone and motor functions, before and after each training phase, and evaluated at 1-month follow up after the last intervention. Results: Our results indicate that vPT alone contributed to a release of muscle spasticity of both arms of the patient with no significant improvement of hand function, while tES+vPT further reduced the spasticity of the left arm, and improved the voluntary motor function of both arms. The grip forces were also increased after the tES+vPT treatment. We found that 1 ms biphasic tES at 30 Hz produced optimum motor outputs. Conclusion: The study demonstrates, for the first time, the potential benefits of cervical tES in regard to improving upper limb motor functions in a patient with chronic TBI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1771-1780
Number of pages10
JournalBrain Injury
Issue number13-14
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2020


  • bilateral upper extremity motor deficits
  • functional rehabilitation
  • neuromodulation
  • transcutaneous electrical stimulation
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology

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