Research Group Aims To Help Transform Stroke Recovery

An established Stroke Research Group within the Clinical Health & Nutrition Centre (CHANCE) at IT Sligo is working on new ways to help home-based patients recover from Stroke.

Daniel Simpson from the Stroke Research Group, which is headquartered in IT Sligo’s School of Science, is currently carrying out clinical trials into new and exciting rehabilitation treatments for home-based stroke patients.

The PhD student, who is originally from Wales, has received a bursary worth €6000 from the North West Stroke Group Ltd towards continuing research into innovative rehabilitation techniques.

The treatments will use simple mirrors and innovative strength training techniques, to allow stroke patients to carry out therapy with minimal assistance at home or in a therapy setting. The therapy is already improving patient strength and reducing spasticity, and is showing huge potential.

The stroke research group, is also carrying out home based clinical trials using a simple treadmill with mirrors, and has established a strong network with the Health Service Executive and the Stroke Unit in Sligo University Hospital, and their Consultant Geriatrician Dr Paula Hickey.

‘We know that there are over 30,000 people living in Ireland with disability due to stroke,” explains Dr Hickey.

“Through our collaboration with this research group, we are seeing substantial benefits in a group of patients that traditionally might have been viewed as having ‘finished’ their treatment and even felt to be beyond help. Not only does this help the stroke victims themselves but it has a broader benefit to their families and healthcare workers and students.”

The stroke group also works closely with both University College Dublin (UCD), and Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI).

The CHANCE director – Dr Kenneth Monaghan – spent several years working in Specialised Neurological Rehabilitation in the USA, and Dublin, before returning home to the West of Ireland to set up the Stroke Research Group.

Dr Monaghan, and his Irish, Welsh, and German PhD students, have established an International network of stroke experts in the UK, Canada and USA, who have contributed to the development of their clinical trials.

“IT Sligo is one of the most innovative Colleges in Ireland, and this expanding Stroke Research Group is something I am really proud to be involved in. This group is one of the largest in Europe, and our network is expanding each year. The fact that I am from Sligo, makes this all the more pleasing and I’m excited to start developing new medical device products based on this clinical data, that will improve stroke patient’s quality of life’.

The establishment and success of the stroke research group, has anchored the development of the Clinical Health & Nutrition Centre (CHANCE) of IT Sligo.

With stroke patients allowed to carry out four-week innovative exercise programmes in their own home, in a tailored fashion, the clinical trials have been attracting increased interest in the North West stroke community.

Stroke patients are able to use their strong unaffected limb to influence improved movement and reduced spasticity in their more affected limb. There have been no adverse effects to participating in the trials, and the fact that patients who had already finished formal rehabilitation are showing improvements is hugely encouraging.

Laurence Cassells, Secretary for the North West Stroke Group describes the potential benefits of this research as exciting. “We are donating this money because we genuinely believe that there is huge potential to improve the lives of our members,” he says.

“It is amazing to see improvements in people who had their stroke many years ago and felt that they had no chance of further recovery.”

It is expected that these new innovative rehabilitation treatments will be used within rehabilitation settings, and also within the patient’s own home in the future.

The Stroke Research Group, was founded by Dr Kenneth Monaghan, Mr Patrick Broderick, Mr Daniel Simpson, and Ms Monika Ehrensberger, in 2014. This Group is supported by IT Sligo and is currently looking for more stroke patients to participate in clinical trials in their own home.

For more information or to volunteer for clinical trials, please contact  Daniel Simpson on087-0531507 or email Daniel.simpson@nullmail.itsligo.ie.

Photo caption:

Back Row (L-R): Dr Kenneth Monaghan (Stroke Research Group Director), Miriam Mulligan, Jimmy Mulligan, Dr John Bartlett (Head of Research IT Sligo).
Middle Row (L-R): Helen Cassells, Laurence Cassells (NorthWest Stroke Group Ltd Secretary), Michael Mulvaney (NorthWest Stroke Group Ltd Chairperson), Joanne O Reilly (Neurology Specialist Physiotherapist), Josephine Conlon, PJ Conlon.
Front Row (L-R): Daniel Simpson (Stroke Research Group), Ed Blake (NorthWest Stroke Group Ltd), Dr Paula Hickey (Consultant Geriatrician), Ms Una Moffett (Stroke Specialist Nurse).

 

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