Project Details


A basic premise underlying the proposed research is that after spinal cord injury (SCI), the sensorimotor and perceptual capabilities of the nervous system may be underestimated. The specific aims of the present proposal are to identify sensorimotor and perceptual responses to vaginal/cervical mechanoself-stimulation on (attenuation of pain and spasticity, and elicitation of sexual responses) that are intact and potentially functional in women with SCI, but that have gone unrecognized and consequently under-utilized. The long-term objective of the proposed research is to identify the actual capabilities of the nervous system after SCI so that they can be utilized to the fullest extent and thereby enrich the quality of life. The proposed research will ascertain whether in women with spinal cord injury (SCI), vaginal and/or cervical mechano-self-stimulation is effective in: 1. suppressing spasticity. It is hypothesized that the spasticity of SCI will be suppressed by vaginal/cervical self-stimulation. 2. activating sexual responses. It is hypothesized that sexual response will be elicited by cervical or other self-stimulation. Specifically, this component will: a) test the hypothesis that in women with complete SCI as high as T12, cervical self-stimulation can evoke sexual response via the hypogastric nerve, which enters the spinal cord at T11-12. b) ascertain whether mechano-self-stimulation of the hypersensitive zone at the level of SCI produces physiological (autonomic) responses that correspond to the perceptual experience of "orgasm." c) ascertain whether vaginal self-stimulation fails to evoke sexual response at all levels of SCI. 3. suppressing neurogenic or experimental pain. It is hypothesized that the pain of SCI will be suppressed by vaginal/cervical self-stimulation. The proposed research utilizes interdisciplinary basic research methodology in identifying the capabilities of the nervous system after SCI, with the objective of utilizing those capabilities to the fullest extent in developing clinically useful therapeutic practices toward enriching the quality of life.
Effective start/end date9/30/928/31/93


  • Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development


  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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