Aiming to improve post-stroke rehabilitation

Even a minor stroke leaves people with ongoing nervous system problems. Stroke is the leading cause of neurological disability in adults, affecting more than 50,000 Canadians each year.

Prof. Richard Staines, School of Kinesiology & Health Science, and Prof. Norman Park, Atkinson Department of Psychology, are aiming to make a difference for people affected by strokes through their research funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).

Right: Richard Staines receives a CFI certificate from Stan Shapson, VP Research & Innovation 

With colleagues at Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care and at Sunnybrook and Women’s College Health Science Centre in Toronto, they are working to develop rehabilitation programs for stroke patients that will improve their motor function and give them more independence.

Staines’s and Park’s research assumes that after someone suffers a stroke, cognitive functioning in the brain is changed  such that patients learn differently. The two researchers are combining their knowledge of neuropsychological testing and behavioural methods with the use of electrophysiological technology – which measures the small electrical currents generated by populations of active brain cells – and brain imaging-technologies to examine more deeply the cognitive functions and muscle control required to perform such daily actions as washing, dressing and meal preparation. Early findings suggest that new training strategies can be developed to improve the functioning of some stroke patients.

Left: Norman Park with his CFI certificate

The CFI recently sent certificates of congratulations to Staines and Park, two of several York faculty members who have received CFI grants during the past year.