Conference attracts international Stroke rehab experts

May 11 2012

The road to rehabilitation for Stroke victims will be the focus of an international medical research conference being held in Hunter Valley wine country this weekend.

As a satellite event for the 7th World Congress for NeuroRehabilitation being staged in Melbourne from May 16-19, the Stroke Rehabilitation Research conference has attracted around 60 stroke researchers and clinicians from around the world.

Newly appointed HMRI Director Professor Michael Nilsson* and Dr Michael Pollack**, Director of the Hunter Stroke Service, are the conference co-convenors, while fellow HMRI Stroke Group members Professor Chris Levi^, Associate Professor Mark Parsons+, Dr Neil Spratt++ and Professor Paulette Van Vliet# will be contributing.

Workshops will be conducted by Professor Randolf Nudo from the University of Kansas, Dr Robert Teasell from the University of Western Ontaria, and Professor Marion Walker from the University ofNottingham.

“The aim of the conference is to establish national and international networks for Stroke research and priorities regarding the nature of the research and its processes,” Professor Nilsson said.

“Stroke often catches people unaware and unprepared, and the physical and cognitive effects can linger for months, if not years. However, the brain is not static … nerve pathways and new networks can be stimulated in various ways, which provides hope for the future.

“Recent research has revealed that the brain has an enormous capacity for functional and structural change, and we have to discuss how to implement this very promising research into the clinical setting.

“Investing in modern rehabilitation programs doesn’t just provide better outcomes for patients, it will bring savings from a health economics viewpoint.”

Professor Nilsson’s own research delves into the concept of ‘enriched environment’, involving the effects of physical activity, music, arts, architecture and more. He is continuing that research in the Hunter, in collaboration with other institutes.

The conference runs Saturday and Sunday at Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley.