Walk Again: Enabling Standing and Walking after Neurological Impairment

Summary

This project is a cluster of research studies investigating health benefits of Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES), neurorobotics and other "blue sky" assistive technologies for physiological, biomechanical, functional (e.g. standing, walking and leg exercise) and psychoperceptual outcomes after 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

Masters/PHD

Synopsis

The Clinical Exercise and Rehabilitation Unit comprising 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. The cluster of projects include:

  • FES-evoked muscle contractions for standing up and prolonging functional standing in incompletely-paralysed SCI patients
  • FES-walking in completely paralysed SCI patients vis epidural and transcutaneous neurostimulation
  • 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
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 from the research team, however may be applied for. 

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, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Rehabilitation, Electrical Stimulation, Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES), Neurological, exercise, Closed Loop Control, Engineering, Gait, Brain & nervous system disorders, Movement disorders, Human body, Movement, Neuroscience & psychology, Other neurological conditions, Electrotherapy, Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES)

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 90

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