According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, approximately 18,000 new spinal cord injuries (SCI) occur each year in the United States. Spinal cord injuries often lead to serious constipation or incontinence, which can lead to decreased quality of life and may even be life-threatening. After a spinal cord injury, 41% of patients rated bowel dysfunction as a severe life-limiting problem.
Craig H. Neilsen Foundation recently announced that they will fund a new research project that aims to develop an optimal electrical stimulation method via reinforcement learning (RL) to help bowel dysfunction of spinal cord injury patients. In this project, Dr. Byung-Jun Yoon will collaborate with Dr. Hangue Park (PI, Texas A&M Electrical and Computer Engineering) and Dr. Cedric Geoffroy (Texas A&M College of Medicine) to develop a closed-loop stimulation scheme, which ultimately aims to improve the quality of life for SCI patients as well as their caregivers.
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