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Forrest scholarship paves way to future spinal injury treatment

Friday, 22 January 2021

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Investigating how people with spinal cord injuries could one day walk again is the focus of a prestigious Forrest Scholarship awarded to an Edith Cowan University (ECU) student this week.

Nishu Tyagi will work with ECU’s Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research to develop and test new rehabilitation methods for persons with spinal cord injuries.

She will test a new approach to neuromuscular electrical stimulation strength training using eccentric exercise – where muscles are lengthening rather than shortening – and its impact on individuals’ health.

The research will aim to push the boundaries of possibility with the use of exercise as a frontline medical intervention, both in terms of enhancing physical function but also mental and physical health, in people with spinal cord injury and other neurological afflictions.

Nishu said she was honoured to join the ranks of Forrest Scholars.

“This is an opportunity to make a life changing difference to Australian lives and may help many SCI lives and may help many SCI lives living around the world in the near future,” she said.

“Globally, between 250,000 and 500,000 people suffer a spinal cord injury each year, and more than 15,000 Australians currently live with a spinal cord injury. This represents a huge challenge for the individuals and families concerned, and a major cost to the health care system.”

This research will be another step in ECU research using advanced technologies, from exercise to robotics, to improve the lives of people with neurological disorders.

ECU’s Deputy Vice Chancellor Research Professor Caroline Finch congratulated Nishu on her success.

“Nishu is an outstanding candidate and her work will support ECU’s commitment to delivering on better health outcomes and improved quality of life for our society,” Professor Finch said.

“World class research such as Nishu’s project is the key to addressing the significant health challenges in Western Australia and for informing global approaches to this in the future.”

Nishu’s research is made possible through the Forrest Research Foundation, which aims to attract the brightest minds to conduct research in Western Australia.

For more about the Forrest Research Foundation, visit www.forrestresearch.org.au

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