Enhancing nervous system recovery through neurobiologics, neural interface training, and neurorehabilitation

Max O. Krucoff*, Shervin Rahimpour, Marc W. Slutzky, V. Reggie Edgerton, Dennis A. Turner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


After an initial period of recovery, human neurological injury has long been thought to be static. In order to improve quality of life for those suffering from stroke, spinal cord injury, or traumatic brain injury, researchers have been working to restore the nervous system and reduce neurological deficits through a number of mechanisms. For example, neurobiologists have been identifying and manipulating components of the intra- and extracellular milieu to alter the regenerative potential of neurons, neuro-engineers have been producing brain-machine and neural interfaces that circumvent lesions to restore functionality, and neurorehabilitation experts have been developing new ways to revitalize the nervous system even in chronic disease. While each of these areas holds promise, their individual paths to clinical relevance remain difficult. Nonetheless, these methods are now able to synergistically enhance recovery of native motor function to levels which were previously believed to be impossible. Furthermore, such recovery can even persist after training, and for the first time there is evidence of functional axonal regrowth and rewiring in the central nervous system of animal models. To attain this type of regeneration, rehabilitation paradigms that pair cortically-based intent with activation of affected circuits and positive neurofeedback appear to be required-a phenomenon which raises new and far reaching questions about the underlying relationship between conscious action and neural repair. For this reason, we argue that multi-modal therapy will be necessary to facilitate a truly robust recovery, and that the success of investigational microscopic techniques may depend on their integration into macroscopic frameworks that include task-based neurorehabilitation. We further identify critical components of future neural repair strategies and explore the most updated knowledge, progress, and challenges in the fields of cellular neuronal repair, neural interfacing, and neurorehabilitation, all with the goal of better understanding neurological injury and how to improve recovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number584
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Issue numberDEC
StatePublished - 2016


  • Brain-machine interface (BMI)
  • Neural interface
  • Neural regeneration
  • Neural repair
  • Neural stimulation
  • Neuroplasticity
  • Neurorehabilitation
  • Spinal cord stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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