Steve Cramer, Ph.D.
Professor and Vice Chair of Research: Neurology, University of California Irvine
My lab is focused on CNS repair in humans. This involves understanding pathology, innate repair processes, and issues related to therapeutic intervention. The main tools we use to approach these issues are detailed behavioral/neurological examination, assessment of selected genotypes, anatomical brain imaging, functional MRI, perfusion MRI, and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). The principal populations in which we are focused are those with stroke or with spinal cord injury. Studies are focused on motor system function, where deficits lend themselves readily to measurement, and which are among the most important sources of disability in these populations.
There are no approved treatments for improving outcome once the acute pathological insult of stroke or spinal cord injury is established. The current thrust is focused on evaluating new treatments. Approaches include motor imagery, cellular therapy, dopamine agonists, robotic interventions, and brain stimulation including use of repetitive TMS. Brain mapping via functional MRI, and neurophysiological mapping/assessment via TMS, accompany intervention to predict responsiveness and to describe biological effects of intervention.