Milos Popovic

KITE | Toronto Rehabilitation Institute | University Health Network

Toronto / Canada

Lecture Title: How Does Functional Electrical Stimulation Therapy Improve Voluntary Function?

Brief Description of Your Lecture: 

In the 1970ies, Roberto Merletti discovered that the use of Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) might result in functional improvements that last many months after the therapy was completed. Following in his footsteps, many scientists have tried to use FES as a therapeutic tool to improve walking, reaching or grasping. FES therapy aims to help the central nervous system relearn to perform tasks that were compromised following a neurological disorder or injury. In other words, FES therapy is used to evoke functional changes in the central nervous system that today are attributed to neuroplasticity. Therefore, in this embodiment, the FES has been used as a therapeutic tool to restore voluntary function in various neurologic patients. The number of published articles describing clinically relevant effects of FES therapy is proliferating. Yet, very few articles discuss the neurophysiological mechanisms behind FES therapy and why this therapy works. In this lecture, I intend to present several mechanisms that can potentially help explain how the FES therapy works, why it is successful, and why it can deliver rehabilitation outcomes incomparable to other competing rehabilitation approaches.

Short version of your biography:

Milos R. Popovic is the Director of KITE Research Institute at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute - University Health Network.  He is also a Professor (Tenured) in the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto.  Dr. Popovic is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering.  He is the co-founder and director of (i) MyndTec; (ii) the CentRe for Advancing Neurotechnological Innovation to Application (CRANIA) at the University Health Network and the University of Toronto; (iii) the CRANIA Neuromodulation Institute at the University of Toronto; and (iv) the Canadian Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Association.  Dr. Popovic is also the founder of FabrIc-Based REsearch (FIBRE) Platform and the Rehabilitation Engineering Laboratory, both located at the KITE Research Institute.  Dr. Popovic held the Toronto Rehab Chair in Spinal Cord Injury Research appointment from 2007 until 2017.