SCI-TReCS - Spinal Cord Injury and Tissue Regeneration Center Salzburg

SCI-TReCS - Spinal Cord Injury and Tissue Regeneration Center Salzburg


Does taking part in wheelchair sports after spinal cord injury impact neuroplasticity?

Athletes with spinal cord injury can perform excellently in disciplines such as wheelchair-dancing or wheelchair racing. The aim of this project is to investigate the effects of these particular motor activities on the brain in athletes with spinal cord injury. Therefore, neuroplastic changes following spinal cord injury will bedocumented and compared between athletes of various disciplines as well as patients with spinal cord injury who do not engage in sports on a regular basis.

Lifetime analysis: epidemiology of patients with spinal cord injury

Very little is known about the epidemiology of patients with spinal cord injury from the Northern medical care region. This project aims to answer questions that are important with respect to the life expectancy of these patients. We hope to identify epidemiologic factors that might not only help improve therapeutic treatment of patients with spinal cord injury, but also improve lifestyle recommendations and thus increase life expectancy.

Documentation of neuroplasticity

How are the unique properties of brain waves affected by paralysis in the acute and chronic phases? We are searching for suitable biomarkers in the electroencephalogram (EEG), which are induced in reaction to the perception of motor activity, the perception of sensory information, and the perception of spatial position. We are also using functional imaging, namely functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), to obtain data on the changes in the activity of the affected brain regions. 

Modulation of neuroplasticity

In this project, we addressed the question of whether neuroplasticity manifesting in the acute/sub-acute phase can be modulated in a targeted manner by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and whether it is possible to document this modulation. We tried this using electroencephalograms (EEG) or functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and also using TMS to measure cortical excitability. We want to find out whether the repeated application of magnetic impulses to the specific regions of the motor cortex that control lower arm and hand muscles with repetitive TMS (rTMS) could bring about positive effects in terms of plasticity and function in patients with incomplete spinal injuries.

Interhemispheric neuroplasticity

We know that the motor control of the hand is modulated by the processing of sensory information in the other hand. Conversely, a decline in sensory perception in one hand increases the motor skills of the other hand.  The purpose of this project is to study this type of interhemispheric neuroplasticity in paraplegic patients.

Diffusion tensor imaging in spinal injuries

The aim of this project is to investigate potential biomarkers for diagnosing and monitoring the progress of spinal injuries, using MRI.