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As physical, occupational and speech therapists working with children with complex needs (and too often) exhausted families and disconnected teams that don't always see eye-to-eye, we recognised the need for clinical discussions that go beyond what we can gather from textbook and published guidelines.

Spinal Stimulation in Spina Bifida with Gerti Motavalli and Dr Gad Alon

Spinal Stimulation in Spina Bifida

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In this wiredOn interview we get to dig deeper into the fascinating potential of non-invasive spinal stimulation with Gerti Motavalli and Dr. Alon and how they are changing the lives of children with Spina Bifida.

With decades of experience and a background spanning multiple countries, Gerti and Dr. Alon bring a wealth of knowledge and practical experiences.

There is so much for us all to learn...


For handy links to things we've discussed in this interview,  scroll down to the Resources Section at the bottom of the page.

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Podcast Highlights

  • 10:26 minutes- Discovering spinal stimulation

  • 12:52 minutes- More than just a motor response

  • 13:31 minutes- The mechanism of action

  • 14:05 minutes- Documenting outcomes

  • 16:09 minutes- Gerti's protocol

  • 31:07 minutes- Electrode placement

  • 41:43 minutes- Progressions

  • 01:01:08 minutes- Questions

  • 01:01:28 minutes- Spinal modulation vs spinal stimulation

  • 01:07:19 minutes- Finding the balance

  • 01:12:57 minutes- Using the hand switch

  • 01:13:49 minutes- Pulse duration

  • 01:16:23 minutes- Spinal cord vs peripheral nerves

  • 01:19:04 minutes- Courses and more ways to learn



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Gerti Motavalli, PT, MPT received her initial physical therapy diploma in Germany, in 1984 and in 2000 earned a master’s degree in physical therapy (MPT) from the University of Missouri, Columbia, USA. Together with Dr. Gad Alon, PT, Ph.D., Gerti has developed a novel non-invasive spinal stimulation protocol for children with Spina Bifida. The findings have been published in the journal, _Child Neurology Open_ in 2019. In 2023 she presented spinal electrical stimulation at the World Conference for Spina Bifida in Tuscan, Arizona. Ms. Motavalli is constantly updating her protocol as she gains new insights from treating patients with electrical stimulation. So far, she has treated more than 160 patients with Spina Bifida over the past 6 years. Ms. Motavalli offers continuing education seminars on electric stimulation in pediatrics, both online and in person. She has taught several one-day courses throughout the USA and is scheduled to teach in Germany and the UK in 2023. She treats children who come to her clinic from throughout the USA and Canada and educates their families and therapists how to incorporate electrical stimulation into their treatment programs.

Gad Alon, PhD, PT graduated from Physical Therapy School at the Wingate Institute in Israel and earned a Master's degree from the Medical College of Virginia and a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. He joined the University of Maryland, School of Medicine, Department of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Science as a full-time faculty in 1983 and retired as an Associate Professor, Emeritus in 2012. Over the years, his major teaching included electrotherapy, management of limb amputation, management of pathological movements and therapeutic technologies. He has been awarded faculty of the year 6 times and his research and teaching has earned him world recognition in the field of rehabilitation medicine. Dr. Alon has 45 published research papers and over 200 abstracts in scientific meetings. He serves as a reviewer to many major rehabilitation and neurology journals. Dr. Alon is invited frequently to share his interest and knowledge with clinicians and scientists throughout the USA and around the world. The core of his current research endeavor has been to develop, test and help bring to the market new treatment options to strengthen weak-sarcopenic skeletal muscles of patients in critical care units, and assist in the recovery following damage the central nervous system (CNS) using both FES and neuromodulation in the form of non-invasive electrical stimulation of the brain (ESB).




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