NSLHD News August 14

Kolling teams receive funding for spinal injury research An Australia wide trial is set to get underway with hopes it may lead to life-long improvements for

those who experience a spinal cord injury. Led by Professor Lisa Harvey from the Kolling Institute’s John Walsh Centre for Rehabilitation Research, the study represents a collaboration between the University of Sydney and every spinal injury unit in Australia. The NSW Government is investing $2.5 million in the project, with the University of Sydney contributing $500,000. Lisa said the innovative approach is one of the most promising interventions for those with spinal cord injuries. “Researchers will assess the effectiveness of early and intensive physiotherapy on neurological recovery and function in people with a recent injury,” she said. “The type of physiotherapy we are looking at will be directed below the level of the injury to take advantage of the plasticity of the spinal cord, and its ability to self-repair soon after injury. “The treatment will aim to help partially paralysed muscles work again through a range of specific exercises, including walking on a treadmill with overhead suspension and electrical stimulation. “It’s hoped the trial will provide evidence of the rehabilitation patients at Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital’s are recovering from illnesses such as stroke. Pablo is a computer-based robotic device that allows patients to perform strength training and repetitive movements that aid in their recovery to perform daily activities. Up to three patients at a time are able to use the Pablo program using the different devices, which have the potential to reduce the amount of time to recover. Occupational Therapist Taryn Fox said using Pablo was exciting for both staff and patients who no longer needed to use older rehabilitation devices that were less intuitive. “The Pablo allows for a wide variety of therapy; it allows people to complete the 1000 repetitions, as research has shown to improve outcomes, without feeling as though they are completing therapy,” Taryn said. “It records the data through the computer and shows the progress of the patient.” Pablo is an interactive device for therapies for hand, arm, shoulder and trunk. It measures various gripping patterns, strength and range

Patient Bob Flegg with Prof Lisa Harvey

effectiveness of this intervention and its potential to make an immediate and life-long difference to people with a spinal cord injury. “Once we have that evidence, this approach could be incorporated into clinical practice and rolled out on a large-scale across Australia. “We’re very hopeful the treatment will lead to better outcomes for those with a spinal cord injury, improving their ability to live independently, and participate in work and leisure.” This is one of three recent funding grants received by the Kolling Institute for spinal injury research.

robot pablo supporting patients at Hornsby New technology is changing the way

Taryn using Pablo with a patient

of movements. Thanks to the support from the community, through the North Foundation’s Christmas Appeal, the Pablo is now being used by rehabiliation and paediatric patients at Hornsby.



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