Walk Again: Enabling Standing and Walking after Neurological Impairment

Summary

This project is a cluster of research studies investigating health benefits and functional outcomes using Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) for standing, walking and leg exercise in spinal cord injury, stroke, head injury and other neurological conditions.

Supervisor(s)

Professor Glen Davis

Research Location

Exercise, Health and Performance Research Group

Program Type

PHD

Synopsis

The Clinical Exercise and Rehabilitation Unit and a multi-disciplinary research team are conducting a cluster of research projects available to goal-seeking and talented postgraduate students into using computer-controlled Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) to recruit paralysed or paretic muscles of neurological patients. This assistive technology is combined with exercise therapy to allow the user to stand, step forward or even ride an exercise bicycle. This enabling technology and rehabilitation therapy is clinically useful primarily to spinal cord injury, hemiparetic stroke and head injury patients.The cluster of projects that have been funded by a NSW 4-year Program Grant include:

  1. FES-evoked muscle contractions for standing up and prolonging functional standing in incompletely-paralysed SCI patients
  2. FES-walking in completely paralysed SCI patients
  3. FES-evoked cycling and elliptical leg stepping exercise for stroke and head-injury patients
  4. FES-cycling to prevent post-traumatic osteoporosis in wheelchair users of neurological aetiology
  5. Innovative biomedical engineering and neurosurgical approaches to deploying implanted FES systems for stroke and head injury patients
In these cluster of projects the main outcomes measured include physiological and biomechanical responses, biomedical engineering developments, functional outcomes (such as standing and walking times) and clinical outcomes to patients. As such, appropriately interested students would include those from the following disciplines: Exercise Physiology, Neuroscience, Biomechanics, Engineering, Physiotherapy, and Medicine.

Additional Information

Techniques used:

  • Exercise Metabolic Cart
  • Treadmills and other exercise devices 
  • Cardiac Bioimpedance 
  • Near-infrared Spectroscopy 
  • Muscle Biopsy
  • Motion Analysis System 
  • Portapres Ambulatory Blood Pressure Analyzer 
  • pQCT and DEXA analyzers for bone architecture
Scholarships are not available.

Possible PhD Topics:
 
  • FES-evoked muscle contractions for standing up and prolonging functional standing in incompletely-paralysed SCI patients 
  • FES-walking in completely paralysed SCI patients 
  • FES-evoked cycling and elliptical leg stepping exercise for stroke and head-injury patients 
  • FES-cycling to prevent post-traumatic osteoporosis in wheelchair users of neurological aetiology 
  • Innovative biomedical engineering and neurosurgical approaches to deploying implanted FES systems for stroke and head injury patients
This project is open to students with a health sciences or bioengineering background only.

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Keywords

Spinal Cord Injury, Stroke, Hemiparesis, Traumatic Brain Injury, Closed Head Trauma, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Rehabilitation, Electrical Stimulation, Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES), ElectrotherapyNeuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES), Neurological, exercise, Closed Loop Control, Engineering, Gait, Brain & nervous system disorders, Movement disorders, Human body, Movement, Neuroscience & psychology, Professional practice

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 90