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Induction of NEuromuscular Plasticity for natural motor rehabilitaTION

Project description

Tailored stimulation to induce neural plasticity and motor function recovery

Voluntary movement relies on a corticospinal pathway. Cortical neurons send axons to spinal cord motor neurons whose axons synapse on muscle fibres in the limbs. Neuromuscular impairment resulting from neuronal damage along this pathway is common in trauma, stroke and even breast cancer and its treatment. No two patients are alike in their impairment and response to neurorehabilitation, yet non-invasive systems for the magnetic or electrical stimulation of the neural pathways typically employ standard stimulation protocols. The EU-funded INcEPTION project will deliver a personalised rehabilitation approach, using high-density surface electromyogram signals to estimate patterns of neural connectivity and tailor therapy to promote functional recovery of movement.


Neurorehabilitation technologies aim to promote functional neural plasticity in patients suffering from neuromuscular disabilities. Non-invasive systems for the magnetic or electrical stimulation of the neural pathways are particularly promising for interfacing directly with the nervous system of the patients and restoring coordinated movements. Despise these potentials, current neurorehabilitation systems have still significant limitations since they usually employ stimulation protocols based on specific assumptions on cortical and spinal connectivity. An efficient way to overcome this problem will be to estimate neural adaptations during the rehabilitation procedure and optimize its parameters directly. The project INcEPTION aims to develop innovative methods to estimate patterns of neural connectivity from the decomposition of high-density surface EMG signals and induce reorganization of the connectivity of motoneuron populations innervating the main arm and shoulder muscles using magnetic and electrical stimulation of cortical and sensory pathways. The revolutionary concept of the project will be to “implant” a signature of motoneuron correlation to promote changes in neural connectivity and, therefore, functional recovery of movements in chronic stroke individuals and breast cancer survivors. The approach will provide the possibility to better understand the mechanisms of neuroplasticity in the central nervous system and define efficient stimulation protocols to re-establish natural connectivity in the motoneuron pools of patient individuals. By combining multi-disciplinary contributions from the fields of neurorehabilitation, computational neuroscience, biomedical signal processing, and neurophysiology, the project INcEPTION aims to produce substantial progress toward a better understanding of the adaptation mechanisms involved in the connectivity of spinal motor neurons and its use in the next generation of neurorehabilitation systems.


Net EU contribution
€ 1 999 533,75
Piazza mercato 15
25121 Brescia

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Nord-Ovest Lombardia Brescia
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 20,00