Congratulation to Mr. Conor Sheridan!

Conor successfully defended his Masters thesis on June 25th. Conor’s thesis “Longitudinal Spatiotemporal Analysis of Gait after Traumatic Brain Injury and an Assessment of Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation as a Gait Training Technique” will help the understanding of mobility complications following TBI and alternative treatment methods. The RELEARN lab wants to wish Conor the best of luck as he starts medical school in the fall.

Relearn Lab in rehabINK

Members of the Relearn lab recently published two articles in rehabINK, the online peer-reviewed magazine at the University of Toronto. rehabINK strives to inspire the rehabilitation science community through student-led, research-driven perspectives, and our members were thrilled to have their worked showcased in the Winter Issue!

Graduate students Conor Sheridan and Lucas Crosby coauthored a commentary piece on the use of rhythmic auditory stimulation to rehabilitate walking ability after neurologic injury such as stroke or Parkinson’s disease. Emphasis is placed on type of stimulation that can be used – fixed tempo that gets patients to walk to a steady constant beat – or variable tempo beat that adapts to the patients walking pattern closely mimicking that variation of strides we observe in everyday walking through busy environments. What may be the most beneficial way to get individuals back to stepping on cue? Check out this link to read further!

Dr Kara Patterson authored Issue 4’s exclusive Faculty Piece, where she discusses the early stages of using dance in rehabilitation for people after stroke. Not only does dance have physical benefits, it improves mood, motivation, and prosocial behaviours like cooperation and connectedness. Dr. Patterson takes us through the feasibility dance program we ran last year, and explains why we are encouraged to begin a randomized controlled trial to investigate the effects of a dance program for people with chronic stroke. To read more follow this link!

RELEARN Lab Attends SPiN in Calgary

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SPiN (Stroke Program in Neurorecovery Workshop) is the Canadian Partnership of Stroke Recovery’s program that brings trainees and clinicians in together to learn about the latest advances in stroke research. The workshop covers all facets of stroke research from the basic science use of animal stroke models to clinical applications of stroke recovery. This year’s workshop was held at the University of Calgary, the newest member of the Partnership, wherein I, along with fellow trainees, was treated to presentations and lab and clinical demonstrations from expert faculty and clinicians.

The workshop kicked off at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, where trainees learned about advances in pediatric stroke research using non-invasive brain stimulation led by Dr. Adam Kirton. Lab demonstrations followed, including TMS and TCDS stimulation, and interactive brain-computer interface technology wherein I was able to drive a remote controlled car using my mind! The remainder of the day focused on basic science models of stroke with talks from Dr. Roger Thompson about cellular death during stroke; Dr. Fred Colbourne about animal models of stroke; Dr. Ian Winship about spinal cord plasticity after stroke; and Dr. Diane Legace who presented the keynote address on how we may promote neurogenesis in the animal model after stroke through stem cell proliferation.

The second day of the workshop began with a presentation from Dr. Sean Dukelow on post-stroke assessment and treatment using robotics such as the KINARM (a technology used to assess and treat post-stroke deficits such as proprioceptive awareness and visio-spatial neglect that I was able to test-drive during the lab demonstration). After observing other demonstrations of brain imaging and stimulation in labs at the Foothills Medical Centre and Health Sciences Centre, trainees were treated to a lunch and enlightening conversation with three individuals recovering from stroke. The afternoon began with a presentation on the effects of aerobic exercise on cognition and its role in stroke prevention by Dr. Marc Poulin, and the workshop was concluded with an interactive discussion on methods to optimize clinical trials in stroke led by Dr. Michael Hill.

The SPiN workshop continues to be a beneficial program for trainees in stroke research to learn about the latest findings in stroke research from across the country and provides an excellent opportunity for students to talk about their own research and build networks for mentorship opportunities and future collaborations across sites within the Canadian Partnership of Stroke Recovery. I look forward to attending the SPiN workshop again in 2018.

~ Lucas Crosby, MSc, CPSR NTA member

GROOVE-D Volunteers Needed!

You better go find your dancing shoes as Drs. Kara Patterson and Dina Brooks are looking for several experts from the GTA to form focus groups! The GROOVE‐D study is designed to investigate the feasibility of a group and home video dance program to improve gait, balance and mood post‐stroke. If you are interested in our GROOVE-D study, please check out the recruitment flyer for more information here.