Current Projects

The ABIRA team are involved in a wide range of research projects aimed at enhancing the benefits of rehabilitation for people who have sustained a brain injury through disease or trauma. Here are some of our current projects.


Rapid assessment of corticospinal neuroplasticity

Key Contact: Dr Michael Grey Funder: SRMRC and BMA

Neuroplasticity is critical for neurorehabilitation. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can be used to measure corticospinal excitability, which is a surrogate marker for neuroplasticity. Both stimulus-response curves and excitability maps have been used in research studies to explore neuroplasticity. However, their clinical use is restricted by the time it takes to acquire the data (typically 10-15 min). We recently demonstrated that data to construct SR curves and excitability maps can be acquired in less than two minutes (Mathias et al. 2014, van de Ruit et al. 2015). We are developing these techniques so they may be used in the clinic, thus translating a laboratory-based measure into clinically-feasible measure of neuroplasticity.

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Key Contact: Dr Michael Grey
Funder: SRMRC and BMA

Neuroplasticity is critical for neurorehabilitation. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can be used to measure corticospinal excitability, which is a surrogate marker for neuroplasticity. Both stimulus-response curves and excitability maps have been used in research studies to explore neuroplasticity. However, their clinical use is restricted by the time it takes to acquire the data (typically 10-15 min). We recently demonstrated that data to construct SR curves and excitability maps can be acquired in less than two minutes (Mathias et al. 2014, van de Ruit et al. 2015). We are developing these techniques so they may be used in the clinic, thus translating a laboratory-based measure into clinically-feasible measure of neuroplasticity.

Further information


REhabilitation and recovery of peopLE with Aphasia after StrokE (RELEASE)

Key Contact: Dr Simon Horton

REhabilitation and recovery of peopLE with Aphasia after StrokE (RELEASE): Utilizing secondary data to enhance speech and language therapy interventions for people with aphasia after stroke. NIHR HS&DR. Professor Marian Brady; Dr S Horton et al. (2015-2017)

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Key Contact: Dr Simon Horton

REhabilitation and recovery of peopLE with Aphasia after StrokE (RELEASE): Utilizing secondary data to enhance speech and language therapy interventions for people with aphasia after stroke. NIHR HS&DR. Professor Marian Brady; Dr S Horton et al. (2015-2017)


Tele-rehabilitation device to enhance walking following ABI

Key Contact: Dr Celia Clarke

After a brain injury some people may experience difficulty moving their leg and therefore have problems with walking. The ability to control ankle movement has been shown to be an important feature of walking recovery following a brain injury and therefore the design of rehabilitation programmes and devices which can improve ankle control is desirable.

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Key Contact: Dr Celia Clarke

After a brain injury some people may experience difficulty moving their leg and therefore have problems with walking. The ability to control ankle movement has been shown to be an important feature of walking recovery following a brain injury and therefore the design of rehabilitation programmes and devices which can improve ankle control is desirable.

Research programmes have investigated whether virtual reality systems can be used to deliver exercises aimed at improving ankle control, and there is evidence to suggest that these systems have led to better walking recovery. However these systems are often bulky and expensive. In this project we want to develop a smart ‘wobble board’ which will be designed to deliver ankle exercises to people with brain injury. This product aims to be a portable low cost system that could be used in both clinical settings and in people’s own home.

The research was funded/supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Brain Injury Healthcare Technology Co-operative based at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and University of Cambridge.  The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the department of Health.


The HeART of Stroke

Feasibility of a randomised controlled trial of an Arts for Health group intervention to support self-confidence and psychological wellbeing following a stroke

Key Contact: Dr Fergus Gracey

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Feasibility of a randomised controlled trial of an Arts for Health group intervention to support self-confidence and psychological wellbeing following a stroke

Key Contact: Dr Fergus Gracey

Email: f.gracey@uea.ac.uk

Please click  here for The HeART of Stroke study paper:

Ellis-Hill C, Thomas S, Gracey F, et al HeART of Stroke: randomised controlled, parallel-arm, feasibility study of a community-based arts and health intervention plus usual care compared with usual care to increase psychological well-being in people following a stroke BMJ Open 2019;9:e021098. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-021098

The Study is now closed but further details can be obtained from Dr Fergus Gracey.