Physiotherapy - Research Publications

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    Improving the outcome of infants born at < 30 weeks' gestation - a randomized controlled trial of preventative care at home
    Spittle, AJ ; Ferretti, C ; Anderson, PJ ; Orton, J ; Eeles, A ; Bates, L ; Boyd, RN ; Inder, TE ; Doyle, LW (BMC, 2009-12-03)
    BACKGROUND: Early developmental interventions to prevent the high rate of neurodevelopmental problems in very preterm children, including cognitive, motor and behavioral impairments, are urgently needed. These interventions should be multi-faceted and include modules for caregivers given their high rates of mental health problems. METHODS/DESIGN: We have designed a randomized controlled trial to assess the effectiveness of a preventative care program delivered at home over the first 12 months of life for infants born very preterm (<30 weeks of gestational age) and their families, compared with standard medical follow-up. The aim of the program, delivered over nine sessions by a team comprising a physiotherapist and psychologist, is to improve infant development (cognitive, motor and language), behavioral regulation, caregiver-child interactions and caregiver mental health at 24 months' corrected age. The infants will be stratified by severity of brain white matter injury (assessed by magnetic resonance imaging) at term equivalent age, and then randomized. At 12 months' corrected age interim outcome measures will include motor development assessed using the Alberta Infant Motor Scale and the Neurological Sensory Motor Developmental Assessment. Caregivers will also complete a questionnaire at this time to obtain information on behavior, parenting, caregiver mental health, and social support. The primary outcomes are at 24 months' corrected age and include cognitive, motor and language development assessed with the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development (Bayley-III). Secondary outcomes at 24 months include caregiver-child interaction measured using an observational task, and infant behavior, parenting, caregiver mental health and social support measured via standardized parental questionnaires. DISCUSSION: This paper presents the background, study design and protocol for a randomized controlled trial in very preterm infants utilizing a preventative care program in the first year after discharge home designed to improve cognitive, motor and behavioral outcomes of very preterm children and caregiver mental health at two-years' corrected age. CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ACTRN12605000492651.
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    Using an electrohydraulic ankle foot orthosis to study modifications in feedforward control during locomotor adaptation to force fields applied in stance.
    Noel, M ; Fortin, K ; Bouyer, LJ (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2009-06-03)
    BACKGROUND: Adapting to external forces during walking has been proposed as a tool to improve locomotion after central nervous system injury. However, sensorimotor integration during walking varies according to the timing in the gait cycle, suggesting that adaptation may also depend on gait phases. In this study, an ElectroHydraulic AFO (EHO) was used to apply forces specifically during mid-stance and push-off to evaluate if feedforward movement control can be adapted in these 2 gait phases. METHODS: Eleven healthy subjects walked on a treadmill before (3 min), during (5 min) and after (5 min) exposure to 2 force fields applied by the EHO (mid-stance/push-off; approximately 10 Nm, towards dorsiflexion). To evaluate modifications in feedforward control, strides with no force field ('catch strides') were unexpectedly inserted during the force field walking period. RESULTS: When initially exposed to a mid-stance force field (FF 20%), subjects showed a significant increase in ankle dorsiflexion velocity. Catches applied early into the FF 20% were similar to baseline (P > 0.99). Subjects gradually adapted by returning ankle velocity to baseline over approximately 50 strides. Catches applied thereafter showed decreased ankle velocity where the force field was normally applied, indicating the presence of feedforward adaptation. When initially exposed to a push-off force field (FF 50%), plantarflexion velocity was reduced in the zone of force field application. No adaptation occurred over the 5 min exposure. Catch strides kinematics remained similar to control at all times, suggesting no feedforward adaptation. As a control, force fields assisting plantarflexion (-3.5 to -9.5 Nm) were applied and increased ankle plantarflexion during push-off, confirming that the lack of kinematic changes during FF 50% catch strides were not simply due to a large ankle impedance. CONCLUSION: Together these results show that ankle exoskeletons such as the EHO can be used to study phase-specific adaptive control of the ankle during locomotion. Our data suggest that, for short duration exposure, a feedforward modification in torque output occurs during mid-stance but not during push-off. These findings are important for the design of novel rehabilitation methods, as they suggest that the ability to use resistive force fields for training may depend on targeted gait phases.
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    The Preventing Australian Football Injuries with Exercise (PAFIX) Study: a group randomised controlled trial
    Finch, C ; Lloyd, D ; Elliott, B (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2009-06-01)
    BACKGROUND: Knee injuries are a major injury concern for Australian Football players and participants of many other sports worldwide. There is increasing evidence from laboratory and biomechanically focused studies about the likely benefit of targeted exercise programmes to prevent knee injuries. However, there have been few international studies that have evaluated the effectiveness of such programmes in the real-world context of community sport that have combined epidemiological, behavioural and biomechanical approaches. OBJECTIVE: To implement a fully piloted and tested exercise training intervention to reduce the number of football-related knee injuries. In so doing, to evaluate the intervention's effectiveness in the real-world context of community football and to determine if the underlying neural and biomechanical training adaptations are associated with decreased risk of injury. SETTING: Adult players from community-level Australian Football clubs in two Australian states over the 2007-08 playing seasons. METHODS: A group-clustered randomised controlled trial with teams of players randomly allocated to either a coach-delivered targeted exercise programme or usual behaviour (control). Epidemiological component: field-based injury surveillance and monitoring of training/game exposures. Behavioural component: evaluation of player and coach attitudes, knowledge, behaviours and compliance, both before and after the intervention is implemented. Biomechanical component: biomechanical, game mobility and neuromuscular parameters assessed to determine the fundamental effect of training on these factors and injury risk. OUTCOME MEASURES: The rate and severity of injury in the intervention group compared with the control group. Changes, if any, in behavioural components. Process evaluation: coach delivery factors and likely sustainability.
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    The FLASSH study: protocol for a randomised controlled trial evaluating falls prevention after stroke and two sub-studies
    Batchelor, FA ; Hill, KD ; Mackintosh, SF ; Said, CM ; Whitehead, CH (BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2009-03-31)
    BACKGROUND: Falls are common in stroke survivors returning home after rehabilitation, however there is currently a lack of evidence about preventing falls in this population. This paper describes the study protocol for the FLASSH (FaLls prevention After Stroke Survivors return Home) project. METHODS AND DESIGN: This randomised controlled trial aims to evaluate the effectiveness of a multi-factorial falls prevention program for stroke survivors who are at high risk of falling when they return home after rehabilitation. Intervention will consist of a home exercise program as well as individualised falls prevention and injury minimisation strategies based on identified risk factors for falls. Additionally, two sub-studies will be implemented in order to explore other key areas related to falls in this population. The first of these is a longitudinal study evaluating the relationship between fear of falling, falls and function over twelve months, and the second evaluates residual impairment in gait stability and obstacle crossing twelve months after discharge from rehabilitation. DISCUSSION: The results of the FLASSH project will inform falls prevention practice for stroke survivors. If the falls prevention program is shown to be effective, low cost strategies to prevent falls can be implemented for those at risk around the time of discharge from rehabilitation, thus improving safety and quality of life for stroke survivors. The two sub-studies will contribute to the overall understanding and management of falls risk in stroke survivors. TRIAL REGISTRATION: This trial is registered with the Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN012607000398404).
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    Effectiveness of balance training exercise in people with mild to moderate severity Alzheimer's disease: protocol for a randomised trial.
    Hill, KD ; LoGiudice, D ; Lautenschlager, NT ; Said, CM ; Dodd, KJ ; Suttanon, P (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2009-07-16)
    BACKGROUND: Balance dysfunction and falls are common problems in later stages of dementia. Exercise is a well-established intervention to reduce falls in cognitively intact older people, although there is limited randomised trial evidence of outcomes in people with dementia. The primary objective of this study is to evaluate whether a home-based balance exercise programme improves balance performance in people with mild to moderate severity Alzheimer's disease. METHODS/DESIGN: Two hundred and fourteen community dwelling participants with mild to moderate severity Alzheimer's disease will be recruited for the randomised controlled trial. A series of laboratory and clinical measures will be used to evaluate balance and mobility performance at baseline. Participants will then be randomized to receive either a balance training home exercise programme (intervention group) from a physiotherapist, or an education, information and support programme from an occupational therapist (control group). Both groups will have six home visits in the six months following baseline assessment, as well as phone support. All participants will be re-assessed at the completion of the programme (after six months), and again in a further six months to evaluate sustainability of outcomes. The primary outcome measures will be the Limits of Stability (a force platform measure of balance) and the Step Test (a clinical measure of balance). Secondary outcomes include other balance and mobility measures, number of falls and falls risk measures, cognitive and behavioural measures, and carer burden and quality of life measures. Assessors will be blind to group allocation. Longitudinal change in balance performance will be evaluated in a sub-study, in which the first 64 participants of the control group with mild to moderate severity Alzheimer's disease, and 64 age and gender matched healthy participants will be re-assessed on all measures at initial assessment, and then at 6, 12, 18 and 24 months. DISCUSSION: By introducing a balance programme at an early stage of the dementia pathway, when participants are more likely capable of safe and active participation in balance training, there is potential that balance performance will be improved as dementia progresses, which may reduce the high falls risk at this later stage. If successful, this approach has the potential for widespread application through community based services for people with mild to moderate severity Alzheimer's disease. TRIAL REGISTRATION: The protocol for this study is registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12608000040369).
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    Quantifying the profile and progression of impairments, activity, participation, and quality of life in people with Parkinson disease: protocol for a prospective cohort study.
    Morris, ME ; Watts, JJ ; Iansek, R ; Jolley, D ; Campbell, D ; Murphy, AT ; Martin, CL (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2009-01-20)
    BACKGROUND: Despite the finding that Parkinson disease (PD) occurs in more than one in every 1000 people older than 60 years, there have been few attempts to quantify how deficits in impairments, activity, participation, and quality of life progress in this debilitating condition. It is unclear which tools are most appropriate for measuring change over time in PD. METHODS AND DESIGN: This protocol describes a prospective analysis of changes in impairments, activity, participation, and quality of life over a 12 month period together with an economic analysis of costs associated with PD. One-hundred participants will be included, provided they have idiopathic PD rated I-IV on the modified Hoehn & Yahr (1967) scale and fulfil the inclusion criteria. The study aims to determine which clinical and economic measures best quantify the natural history and progression of PD in a sample of people receiving services from the Victorian Comprehensive Parkinson's Program, Australia. When the data become available, the results will be expressed as baseline scores and changes over 3 months and 12 months for impairment, activity, participation, and quality of life together with a cost analysis. DISCUSSION: This study has the potential to identify baseline characteristics of PD for different Hoehn & Yahr stages, to determine the influence of disease duration on performance, and to calculate the costs associated with idiopathic PD. Valid clinical and economic measures for quantifying the natural history and progression of PD will also be identified. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ACTRN12609000008224.
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    Maximum recovery after knee replacement - the MARKER study rationale and protocol
    Lin, C-WC ; March, L ; Crosbie, J ; Crawford, R ; Graves, S ; Naylor, J ; Harmer, A ; Jan, S ; Bennell, K ; Harris, I ; Parker, D ; Moffet, H ; Fransen, M (BMC, 2009-06-17)
    BACKGROUND: There is little scientific evidence to support the usual practice of providing outpatient rehabilitation to patients undergoing total knee replacement surgery (TKR) immediately after discharge from the orthopaedic ward. It is hypothesised that the lack of clinical benefit is due to the low exercise intensity tolerated at this time, with patients still recovering from the effects of major orthopaedic surgery. The aim of the proposed clinical trial is to investigate the clinical and cost effectiveness of a novel rehabilitation strategy, consisting of an initial home exercise programme followed, approximately six weeks later, by higher intensity outpatient exercise classes. METHODS/DESIGN: In this multicentre randomised controlled trial, 600 patients undergoing primary TKR will be recruited at the orthopaedic pre-admission clinic of 10 large public and private hospitals in Australia. There will be no change to the medical or rehabilitative care usually provided while the participant is admitted to the orthopaedic ward. After TKR, but prior to discharge from the orthopaedic ward, participants will be randomised to either the novel rehabilitation strategy or usual rehabilitative care as provided by the hospital or recommended by the orthopaedic surgeon. Outcomes assessments will be conducted at baseline (pre-admission clinic) and at 6 weeks, 6 months and 12 months following randomisation. The primary outcomes will be self-reported knee pain and physical function. Secondary outcomes include quality of life and objective measures of physical performance. Health economic data (health sector and community service utilisation, loss of productivity) will be recorded prospectively by participants in a patient diary. This patient cohort will also be followed-up annually for five years for knee pain, physical function and the need or actual incidence of further joint replacement surgery. DISCUSSION: The results of this pragmatic clinical trial can be directly implemented into clinical practice. If beneficial, the novel rehabilitation strategy of utilising outpatient exercise classes during a later rehabilitation phase would provide a feasible and potentially cost-effective intervention to optimise the physical well-being of the large number of people undergoing TKR. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ACTRN12609000054213.
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    Laterally wedged insoles in knee osteoarthritis: do biomechanical effects decline after one month of wear?
    Hinman, RS ; Bowles, KA ; Bennell, KL (BMC, 2009-11-25)
    OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to determine whether the effect of laterally wedged insoles on the adduction moment in knee osteoarthritis (OA) declined after one month of wear, and whether higher reported use of insoles was associated with a reduced effect on the adduction moment at one month. METHODS: Twenty people with medial compartment OA underwent gait analysis in their own shoes wearing i) no insoles and; ii) insoles wedged laterally 5 degrees in random order. Testing occurred at baseline and after one month of use of the insoles. Participants recorded daily use of insoles in a log-book. Outcomes were the first and second peak external knee adduction moment and the adduction angular impulse, compared across conditions and time with repeated measures general linear models. Correlations were obtained between total insole use and change in gait parameters with used insoles at one month, and change scores were compared between high and low users of insoles using general linear models. RESULTS: There was a significant main effect for condition, whereby insoles significantly reduced the adduction moment (all p < 0.001). However there was no significant main effect for time, nor was an interaction effect evident. No significant associations were observed between total insole use and change in gait parameters with used insoles at one month, nor was there a difference in effectiveness of insoles between high and low users of the insoles at this time. CONCLUSION: Effects of laterally wedged insoles on the adduction moment do not appear to decline after one month of continuous use, suggesting that significant wedge degradation does not occur over the short-term.
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    Cultural origins of patterns of participation in multi-cultural classrooms
    REMEDIOS, L ; CLARKE, D (Sense Publishers, 2009)
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    Validity and reliability of the Nintendo Wii Balance Board for assessment of standing balance.
    CLARK, ROSS ; BRYANT, ADAM ; Pua, Yonghao ; MCCRORY, PAUL ROBERT ; BENNELL, KIM ; HUNT, MICHAEL ( 2009)