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Spinal Cord Neuronal Circuit Dynamism During Sensorimotor Control


The versatility of the spinal cord as a sophisticated processor of information has been continually supported by a growing body of literature, which indicates that the spinal cord, like the brain, is capable of reorganization, learning, and the au- tonomous evaluation and modulation of sensory and motor signals. These proper- ties are of particular interest to the clinical research community, as these intrinsic properties of the spinal cord are currently being leveraged to provide novel ther- apies for amelioration of neuromotor deficits such as those associated with acute spinal cord injury (SCI) or stroke. An important missing component of these efforts, however, is a detailed, behaviorally-relevant understanding of the physiology responsible for motor behavior and nominal spinal cord function. Though some isolated circuits and overall network behaviors have been identified under various experimental conditions, investigators are still limited by the quantity and quality of data relevant to in vivo contexts of motor control and the role of descending inputs and afferent sensory information that serve to modulate the spinal cords ac- tivity. Identifying the mechanistic and dynamic properties of spinal cord circuitry is thus critical to the refinement of existing technologies and the development of newer, more effective methodology to treat neuromotor dysfunction.

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