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Neuromodulation for functional restoration: recent advances and future perspectives 


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Abstract

This mini-review assessed recent studies of spinal cord stimulation and neuromuscular stimulation in spinal cord injury in order to provide an overview of recent advances in neuromodulation for functional restoration. Possible mechanisms of such motor recovery were analyzed, ways to improve neuromodulation for functional restoration were discussed, and future perspectives were outlined in this paper. Recent advancements in neuromodulation such as spinal cord stimulation and neuromuscular stimulation in spinal cord injury have made it possible for patients with incurable complete paralysis to recover motor function. The progress of recent neuromodulation studies in spinal cord injury have demonstrated the value and potential of neuromodulation in functional restoration. The effectiveness and precision of neuromodulation can be further improved by techniques such as closed-loop control, optogenetics, multi-modal stimulation and neuroimmune modulation, while its adverse effects can be reduced (e.g., by optimizing parameters) or minimized (e.g., by using non-invasive techniques). This has opened up new possibilities to use neuromodulation for other incurable neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis. Neuromodulation has great potential for restoring lost functions and reestablishing physiological homeostasis. To reach its full potential, much learning, research and development is needed. As neuromodulation technology advances, it is foreseeable that neuromodulation will achieve significant clinical effectiveness in functional restoration in the near future, which will bring cure to patients with incurable neurological diseases and relieve them from suffering.

Keywords

neuromodulation, spinal electrical stimulation, deep brain stimulation, optogenetics, functional restoration

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