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Functional activity of upper extremities to improve trunk function after spinal cord injury

Project Description

This project aims to study efficacy of combined arm cycling and standard exercise in improving trunk function in individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). This innovative approach will take a major incremental step forward by applying the knowledge of neurophysiology acquired from our prior work to clinical practice (Chiou et al., 2020; 2019). We hypothesise that the arm cycling exercise will enhance the efficacy of standard exercise training in improving trunk function in individuals with SCI. All participants will undertake exercise training for 8 weeks, with half of them undertaking an additional home-based arm cycling exercise. Neurophysiological and functional assessments will be performed during the course of the intervention to monitor improvements in trunk control. Since individuals with SCI ranked restoration of trunk function as one of the highest priorities to enhance quality of life, this work will significantly benefit this population by offering a novel and affordable approach for trunk rehabilitation.

Funding Notes

The scholarship is funded by the INSPIRE Foundation. Applications from Home/EU students are welcome. Funding is made towards 3-year tuition fees and stipend.


1. Chiou SY, Strutton PH. Crossed Corticospinal Facilitation between Arm and Trunk Muscles in people with incomplete spinal cord injury. 2020. (manuscript under review)
2. Chiou SY, Strutton PH, Perez MA. Crossed Corticospinal Facilitation between Arm and Trunk Muscles in Humans. J Neurophysiol. 2018. doi: 10.1152/jn.00178.2018.
3. Chiou SY, Hurry M, Reed T, Quek JX, Strutton PH. Cortical contributions to anticipatory postural adjustments in the trunk. J Physiol. 2018; 1; 596:1295-1306. doi: 10.1113/JP275312.

How good is research at University of Birmingham in Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 34.40

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