Postgraduate Research Programmes

Postgraduate research is an important area of focus for ABIRA. Here are some of the projects our postgraduate students are undertaking.


Dosage in stroke rehabilitation trials

Key Contact: Elisabetta Colucci

Email: e.colucci@uea.ac.uk

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Key Contact: Elisabetta Colucci

Email: e.colucci@uea.ac.uk

Elisabetta Colucci, Allan Clark, Catherine Lang, Valerie Pomeroy

So far, the exact dose of therapeutic exercise required for maximising motor recovery after stroke is unknown. Appropriate dose optimization studies to identify the optimal therapeutic dosages of rehabilitative interventions after stroke are inexistent but welcomed by the research community.

The main aim of this research project is to fulfil the lack of effective methodologies of dosage optimization suitable for stroke rehabilitation research.

In this research I have devised a novel dose-finding study derived from pharmaceutical dose optimization approaches and have adapted it to suit stroke rehabilitation research. I have tested the feasibility of using these novel methodologies to dose-finding by undertaking a feasibility phase I study with stroke survivors engaged in an upper-limb training task.

 


Increasing opportunities for functional communication learning in rehabilitation for people with aphasia post-stroke

Key Contact: Ciara Shiggins

Email: c.shiggins@uea.ac.uk

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Key Contact: Ciara Shiggins

Email: c.shiggins@uea.ac.uk

About 150,000 people in the UK have a stroke each year. One third of stroke survivors experience aphasia, a communication disorder affecting speaking, understanding, writing and reading. Increasing a person’s participation through functional, everyday communication is a key objective of aphasia rehabilitation.

This study investigates the mechanisms of speech and language therapy with a functional goal and how functional communication learning opportunities in routine rehabilitation can be optimised. A systematic review will identify the processes of learning that take place in speech and language therapies with a functional goal. An observational study of interactions between people with aphasia and healthcare professionals will be used to evaluate learning mechanisms. Interviewing will be used to evaluate subjective experiences of rehabilitation participants, both healthcare professionals and people with aphasia.

 


Upper limb recovery and neuroplasticity after stroke

Key Contact: Kathryn Collins

Email: Kathryn.collins@uea.ac.uk

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Key Contact: Kathryn Collins

Email: Kathryn.collins@uea.ac.uk

Forty percent of stroke survivors have difficulty using their arm which can lead to decreased independence with activities such as dressing and eating.  There is an urgent need to improve rehabilitation.  There are two parts to my PhD.  First, I will summarise through a systematic review the findings of studies of differences in movement kinematics between healthy adults and stroke survivors when reaching to grasp an object.

Second, I will investigate the reliability of using a technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation.  Transcranial magnetic stimulation can be used to measure how well the brain is connected to the weak arm muscles.  Reliability is the stability or consistency of a measure over multiple tests.

Together the results will inform clinical rehabilitation by increasing the understanding of the movement deficits that underlie difficulty with everyday activities and provide a neurophysiological measure of the reduction in movement deficits in response to rehabilitation.