Behavioral Assessment following SCI:
Cervical spinal cord injuries (SCI) are amongst the most severe spinal injuries affecting humans due to drastically impacting quality of life through the impairment of stereotyped movements and highly integrated sensorimotor functions, resulting in a high fatality rate. Other than physical therapy, which can only assist in gaining partial function, there is currently no treatment providing full recovery for cervical SCI. At the Horner Lab, rat models have been implemented to assess motor learning, control of fine movements, and track progression of recovery after cervical SCI through the forelimb reaching task (FRT). Additionally, the lab has been implementing the limb-use asymmetry test (LUAT), which assists in determining the limb-preference pre and post cervical SCI, as well as throughout the short and long-term recovery periods. Overall, the behavioral assessments of the rats demonstrate the degree of injury observed after a cervical SCI, allowing us to learn more about the natural progression and effects of the injury to implement therapeutic strategies that could improve quality of life.