Transformative Therapies for Chronic Spinal Cord Injury: The Role of Transcutaneous Spinal Stimulation in SCI Care

In this episode of ‘SCI Care: What Really Matters’, we focus on sharing information on the technological innovations in our field with a discussion about transcutaneous spinal stimulation (TSS).

Our guest host for this episode is Dr. Daniel Graves, Professor and Associate Dean of Research at the College of Rehabilitation Sciences and Vice-chairman of Rehabilitation Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University’s Sidney Kimmel Medical College in Philadelphia. He is joined by Yi-Kai Lo, PhD, CEO and Co-Founder of ANEUVO, the developers of ExaStim TSS. After working for many years in the electrical stimulation research field, Yi-Kai Lo realized there was a gap when it came to better technologies and tools for SCI patients, and he has made it his mission to bridge this gap by targeting the technology at this specific group of patients. Our second guest is Dr. Rebecca Martin, OTR/L, OTD Manager of Clinical Education and Training at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore. Dr. Martin previously worked as an occupational therapist before moving into research, motivated by the desire to find better treatment solutions for her patients.

Together this panel discuss the role of transcutaneous spinal stimulation (TSS) in the SCI continuum of care, treatment goals for TSS, the current state of research, what patients are good candidates for TSS therapy and how to set expectations regarding patient outcomes, as it is important to manage patient expectations with this treatment, recognizing that it is not a cure, but rather a complement to ongoing treatment and rehabilitation programs.

There is still much to learn about the possible outcomes of TSS, but the early signs are promising, particularly in terms of those areas which are a high priority for patients, such as bowel and bladder function. Any improvement in these areas makes a real difference to patients’ quality of life.

Listen to the full episode to learn more about developments in this research area.

The opinions of our host and guests are their own; ISCoS does not endorse any individual viewpoints, given products or companies.

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The SCI Care: What really Matters podcast aims to provide valuable insights and the most up-to-date information for those providing care to people with spinal cord injury (SCI) worldwide. The vision of the International Spinal Cord Society (ISCoS) is to “facilitate healthy and inclusive lives for people with spinal cord injury or dysfunction globally”.

Chapter Markers

0:21 Guest and host introductions.

3:08 Introduction to the topic of TSS.

4:22 When a person has a spinal cord injury, what is the role of transcutaneous stimulation in the continuum of care for SCI?

6:15 What are your treatment goals for TSS, and how do you properly set expectations regarding patient outcomes?

9:32 How is ExaStim TSS different from other technology? And when would ExaStim be used in the continuum of care?

14:13 So I can see that the non-invasive aspect is very important. How about the programmability of the electrodes? If you’re going to move them, is that something that a person can do, or is that something that would require a visit to your shop?

16:58 What is the main characteristic difference of your technology? Is it the carrier signal that you don’t have to have, or what is it about your technology that makes it different except for the electrode?

19:48 What are the goals of your current research?

25:02 What would you say to the clinicians and the patients out there that are interested in TSS?

Source: International Spinal Cord Society (2023)

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