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NeuroRehabilitation and Robotics Laboratory

The main focus of our lab is to understand and promote neuroplasticity following neurological damage caused by stroke, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury or other brain injuries. We use advanced robotic technologies combined with non-invasive brain stimulation techniques to improve voluntary movement and motor function.

Aims

  • To investigate human voluntary movement, central nervous system function, and functional recovery following neurological damage.
  • To identify predictors of rehabilitation outcomes.
  • To assess effectiveness of robotic technologies and non-invasive brain stimulation in patient outcomes.
  • To assess cognitive, sensory and motor functions underlying neuro-rehabilitation.

Current Projects

  • Improving arm function in stroke survivors with a virtual dolphin.
    Often stroke survivors are left with impaired arm function. Optimising recovery of arm function requires a high intensity and repetitive exercise in stroke rehabilitation. A high-intensive repetitive exercise using traditional techniques can cause fatigue, boredom and so discontinuation of therapy. In this study we employ a new technology designed to accelerate rehabilitation of arms after a stroke. The study participant will play with virtual dolphins in an engaging environment while his/her arms will be supported by an exoskeleton robot. We expect an increased arm and cognitive functions in this study.
  • Low-intensity rTMS in human spinal cord injury: a translational approach.
    Recovery after spinal cord injury can be potentiated by repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) of the brain. Current rTMS protocols can cause discomfort and might cause unwanted stimulation of deeper brain areas. In this study we will test the safety and feasibility of a stimulation protocol mimicking that used in preclinical work, and measure outcomes using robotics and neurophysiology.
  • Contralateral effects of eccentric resistance training on muscle function of impaired arm of stroke patients.
    Motor impairment of upper arm is the leading cause of disability in stroke survivors. In this study we will investigate the impact of a novel strategy “eccentric training” to improve arm and motor function. It has been demonstrated that training of one arm can increase the performance of the opposite, untrained arm. The study participants will be involved in an 8-week exercise program. We hypothesise that eccentric training of the unaffected arm will improve motor function and sensation of the affected arm.

Media Releases

  1. Clinical Neuroscience and adjuncts to rehabilitation robotics
  2. Robotics for neurorehabilitation

Director

Professor Dylan Edwards

Research Team

Dr Onno van der Groen

Alumni

Dr Manonita Ghosh

Past Events

Symposium: State of the Science in Post-Stroke Motor Recovery
16-17 November 2018
ECU Joondalup Campus, WA

Location

Building 19, Room 129
ECU Joondalup Campus
270 Joondalup Drive
Joondalup WA

Contact

Dr Onno van der Groen
Telephone: (61 8) 6304 3644
Email: o.vandergroen@ecu.edu.au

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