Fall 2020 - BPK 448 D100

Rehabilitation of Movement Control (3)

Class Number: 6105

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM

    We 10:30 AM – 11:20 AM

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 13, 2020
    7:00 PM – 10:00 PM

  • Instructor:

    Andy Hoffer
    1 778 782-3141
    Office: L 9003
  • Prerequisites:

    BPK 201 or 207, and BPK 306, or for biomedical engineering students, BPK 201, 208 and 308.



This course is aimed at students interested in neuromuscular rehabilitation. Students will learn about the pathological origins of movement disorders associated with impaired function of sensory and motor systems. The course will be focused on the stages and strategies for recovery of voluntary control of essential functions. The range of rehabilitation interventions available to assist recovery and restore voluntary control will be explored, with special emphasis on advanced techniques to restore control of movement and bodily functions in paralyzed people.


13 weeks x 3 Lecture hours per week (2 hours on Mondays, 1 hour on Wednesdays)

Target students are senior biomedical physiology, kinesiology and biomedical engineering majors interested in

1) The human body’s intrinsic capacity and physiological limitations for recovery from severe neurological trauma or disease that cause paralysis, movement disorders and/or sensory deficits

2) Current and emerging approaches to restore, augment or replace the functions of affected muscles or organs

3) Insights on clinical trials, regulatory requirements & commercialization pathway for innovative therapies.

The course explores a wide range of rehabilitation options and their risks, ethics, costs & benefits.

Emphasis will be placed on advanced neuroprosthetic therapies that use targeted electrical stimulation to protect, restore or enhance voluntary control of basic functions and/or support independence in activities of daily living.


Review of neuromuscular mechanisms for normal movement control

Pathologies that affect sensory and motor functions

Brain, spinal cord, spinal roots, peripheral nerves, muscles; somatic & autonomic

Capacity for self-repair and regeneration after injury of peripheral vs. central neural systems

Classification standards for impairment vs. disability

Approaches to restoring or replacing lost or diminished neuromuscular function

      Physiotherapy - pharmacotherapy - surgical reconstruction - targeted electrical stimulation

Neural prostheses

      Guidelines for safe and effective electrical stimulation of excitable tissues

      Approaches designed for temporary or permanent interfacing with the nervous system

      External vs. partially implanted vs. fully implanted neurostimulation systems

Neuromodulation for treatment of chronic pain, movement disorders or other neurological disorders

Preventing or restoring impaired motor/sensory function with functional electrical stimulation

Neuroprosthetic approaches for voluntary control of artificial limbs

     Open-loop vs. closed-loop control

     Tapping available command signal sources for prosthesis control

     Sensors and sensory feedback sources for prosthesis control

The path to commercialization of therapeutic innovations

      R&D, funding sources, pre-clinical & clinical validation of safety & efficacy, regulatory approval

Determinants of commercial viability and market success

Functionality vs. availability vs. cost: meeting expectations of patients, physicians and payers

     Acute vs. chronic consequences of neurological injury or disease

Assessment of functional loss


  • Describe differences and similarities in the regenerative capacity of peripheral neurons vs. central neurons after injury.
  • Describe reasons for differences in the acute and chronic consequences of brain injuries.
  • Discuss current classification standards for impairment disability after injury or disease.
  • Design basic therapeutic plans for restoring or replacing lost neuromuscular functions using physiotherapy, pharmacotherapy, reconstructive surgery and/or targeted electrical stimulation.
  • Apply accepted guidelines for safe and effective electrical stimulation of excitable tissues.
  • Assess the relative benefits and drawbacks of neurostimulation systems that use external partially implanted vs. fully implanted components.
  • Describe current uses of neuromodulation for treatment of chronic pain, epilepsy or movement disorders.
  • Evaluate possibilities for using neuromodulation to treat additional neurological disorders.
  • Describe uses of functional electrical stimulation to protect muscles from disuse atrophy or to rebuild muscle strength in disused muscles.
  • Describe neuroprosthetic systems that enhance voluntary control of artificial limbs by amputees.
  • Explain the roles and uses of sensors and sensory feedback for prosthesis control.
  • Describe regulatory requirements to develop, test and commercialize a therapeutic innovation.
  • Analyze the basic determinants of commercial viability and marketing success for a new therapy.
  • Apply knowledge learned in class to diagnose and “treat” new patient scenarios in exams.
Apply knowledge learned in class to evaluate a new therapeutic solution that may be first described in an exam question.








Midterm 1       Wednesday,   30 Sept                                   50 min

25% of course marks

Midterm 2       Wednesday,   28 Oct                                     50 min

25% of course marks

Midterm 3       Wednesday,   25 Nov                                   50 min

25% of course marks

Final exam       Date and Time TBA                                    180 min  

25% of course marks

**Course marks will be based on the best 2 out of 3 Midterm scores (adjusted to 60%) plus the final exam (40%).

All Exams will be taken synchronously at the posted dates and times and will be monitored via Zoom. 


Textbook:  none 

The instructor will regularly communicate with the students via email.





Lecture Slides, Supplementary Notes and Reading Materials will be posted weekly by the instructor in the course website.


Review articles, suggested background articles, news will be posted by instructor in the course website and/or distributed by email.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

It is the responsibility of the student to keep their BPK course outlines if they plan on furthering their education.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2020 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).