Showcasing Physiotherapy Research at ACU

Published: Monday 8th September 2014

The School of Physiotherapy presented at the fifth consecutive Faculty of Health Sciences Research Conversation held on 21 August via videoconference across ACU campuses.

Research Conversation workshops serve as a platform for the exchange of research interests and projects among the Faculty and wider University staff, postgraduate and higher degree research students.

An overview of research activities within the School of Physiotherapy was showcased, focusing on some of the School’s areas of research in paediatric, neurology and physiotherapy.

Paediatric Research Group in Physiotherapy
Dr Marcella Danks presented on collaborative paediatric research projects undertaken with colleagues, Dr Jane Butler and Dr Judith Hough across the School of Physiotherapy campuses, other Schools within ACU and clinical partners.  The team builds school research output related to improving health outcomes, function and participation in childhood and adolescence.

A brief overview of the research groups’ current research areas was highlighted along with a spotlight presentation of a current honours research project by student Kate Cherry on Behaviour and motor outcomes in Extremely Low Birth Weight Children (ELBW). The study concentred on 12 – 14 years old kids and was facilitated at the Mater Clinic. One of the outcomes of this research showed that behaviour problems were related to motor problems rather than premature characteristics.

Ageing and neurological disorders - Physiotherapy RAND Group
Professor Nancy Low Choy, Ms Mary Lynch, Dr Simone Dorsch and Dr Ann Rahmann collaborate on stroke research across the School of Physiotherapy campuses and as part of a multi-disciplinary collaborative across the Faculty of Health Sciences. Professor Low Choy provided a brief overview of the group’s current research projects. Individual members have a number of collaborative projects with external colleagues within hospital and community settings.

The RAND Group aims to contribute to the evidence base for physiotherapists working with aged and neurological disorders - such as vestibular disorders, stroke or fracture falls - by maximizing rehabilitation outcomes for participation in home and community based activities.

Physiotherapy Cardiorespiratory Research Group
Associate Professor George Ntoumenopoulos presented a brief overview of current research collaborations with colleagues Dr Judy Hough, Dr Lyndal Maxwell and Mrs Jenny Murphy. The group investigates the impact of commonly used respiratory physiotherapy interventions and novel devices to monitor respiratory function (across the adult and paediatric groups).  Some research undertaken includes: (a) Monitoring the distribution of ventilation in neonates, (b) Secretion retention in intubated and ventilated patients: detection and clearance, (c) Flow bias generated during physiotherapy and ventilation, (d) Diagnostic thoracic ultrasound and (e) Modes of delivery of physiotherapy education including simulation.

The group works closely with various research collaborators and associates such as the Mater Research Institute – Mater Health Services, the Department of Physiotherapy and Critical Care Institute – St Vincent’s Hospital and the Hospital Clinic and IDIBAPS in Barcelona, Spain. Commercial collaborators include Biovo Medical and the Australian Institute of Ultrasound, amongst others.  

The next Research Conversation on Thursday 25th September at 3:30 pm will be presented by Special Guest Speaker Professor Peter Rosenbaum from McMaster University Canada on the topic How a Research Question Became a Research Program – Exploring Motor Development in Children with Cerebral Palsy (Tales of a 30-year journey of discovery)

The ACU Videoconference room venues are Melbourne campus – Rm 5.30; North Sydney campus – Tenison Woods House Lvl 16; Brisbane campus – Ac.22, Strathfield campus – Rm E2.45; Canberra campus – Rm 110 and Ballarat campus – Rm 503.

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