Featured News Stroke recovery research: help needed

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Tue, 30 May 2023

Stroke recovery research: help needed

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Photo: Sincerely media

James Cook University researchers are testing a new way to help stroke survivors regain arm movement and learn to speak well again, and they are looking for volunteers in Townsville and Cairns to help out.

Ruth Barker, Associate Professor of Rehabilitation at JCU, is chief investigator. She said one in six stroke survivors experience the loss of arm, hand and language functions.

“The areas in the brain used for these functions sit closely together, so the idea is that if we train these areas of the brain together, we'll get a better recovery,” Dr Barker said.

Frances Cochrane, senior lecturer in Speech Pathology said the trial program will provide rehabilitation for stroke survivors, targeting brain areas for both arm and language function.

“This trial will help us work out how much training is needed to maximise recovery, and how exactly to do that training,” she said.

The researchers are looking for people who have had a stroke three to 24 months ago, and are having problems with arm movement and speech.

It will involve two to four hours, five days per week, for four weeks.

Participants in Townsville will do assessment and training in a clinic. Those who are only mildly affected can train at home via telehealth.

In Cairns, participants will do an initial and final assessment at a clinic, and then do the training at home using telehealth.

If you would like to know more about the trial, please email [email protected].

Further information about the trial is available here: https://www.stroke-repair.com/uplift-trial

The trial is called UPLIFT: UPper limb and Language Impairment and Functional Training.

The Townsville and Cairns trials are part of a nation-wide study, led by JCU graduate Dr Kate Hayward, who is now based at the University of Melbourne.

In addition to Townsville and Cairns, the UPLIFT trial includes investigators in Melbourne (University of Melbourne, Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Austin Hospital), Brisbane (University of Queensland, STARS, RBWH), Perth (Edith Cowan University and Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital), and Adelaide (Royal Adelaide Hospital).