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Electrical Stimulation and Recording of the Spinal Cord for Autonomic Neuromodulation


Electrical stimulation of the spinal cord has been demonstrated to facilitate recovery of motor functions. Here, the effects of spinal cord stimulation on autonomic functions is demonstrated via two series of experiments. The first series involved epidural stimulation of the dorsal cervical spinal cord in anesthetized patients for respiratory modulation. Application of epidural stimulation resulted in acute changes in respiratory rate and tidal volume, dependent on the location and frequency of stimulation. The second series involved transcutaneous electrical stimulation (tSCS) of the thoracolumbar spinal cord of spinal cord injury subjects to enable bladder function. Results demonstrate improvements in bladder function via repeated application of tSCS. Lastly, epidural thoracic potentials were analyzed to determine if the waveforms contained information regarding the onset of bladder sensations. Distinct differences in spectral characteristics of the waveforms were demonstrated; however, a larger sample size is needed to confirm whether the waveforms can decode urge onset.

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