Randomized control trial: activity-based therapy with non-invasive stimulation

study logo - lokomat

Motor and Autonomic Concomitant Health Improvements with Neuromodulation and Exoskeleton training: an RCT in individuals with SCI (MACHINE)

Drs. Andrei Krassioukov, Tania Lam, Mike Berger, and Stacy Elliott and their teams are investigating the effects of activity-based therapy (ABT) with non-invasive transcutaneous spinal cord stimulation (TCSCS) on motor function, autonomic function (cardiovascular, bladder, bowel, and sexual) and quality of life in people with SCI. Participants will receive ABT and either (a) TCSCS or (b) ineffective stimulation (SHAM) 3 days per week for 12 weeks for a total of 36 treatment sessions. ABT involves the use of the Lokomat (a computer-controlled robotic device that provides body weight-supported treadmill training). At the same time as the ABT, participants will receive TCSCS or SHAM stimulation involving the use of sticker electrodes on the skin to deliver electrical impulses to the spinal cord.

Why should you participate in this study?

All of your tests, examinations, and medical care required as a part of this study will be provided at no cost to you. Through this study, you will learn about various aspects of your health. The information we obtain from this study may improve our understanding of the effects of activity-based therapy and electrical spinal cord stimulation in individuals with SCI and may lead to an alternative treatment for improving motor, cardiovascular, bowel, bladder, and sexual function.

You may be eligible to participate in this study if you:

  • are a BC resident with an active medical services plan (MSP)
  • are between 18 and 60 years of age
  • experienced a traumatic spinal cord injury at, or above, the T6 level more than a year ago
  • have a motor-complete spinal cord injury (AIS A or B)
  • weigh less than 300lbs / 136kg
  • are between the heights of 5’2″/158cm  and 6’2″/188cm
  • are not diagnosed with clinical depression

Time commitment

The total duration of participation is approximately 90 hours over 20 weeks, including 3 visits per week to the Blusson Spinal Cord Centre (ICORD) for 12 weeks (36 treatment sessions of approximately 2 hours each), plus 6 additional visits to conduct necessary screening and assessments (3-4 hours each).

Participants will be financially compensated for completion of the study visits.

For more information or to sign up to participate, please contact the study coordinator, Alison Williams, by email or phone 604-675-8815