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Michelle Ploughman

BScPT (Dalhousie), MSc (MUN), PhD (MUN), Postdoctorate (Atlantic endMS Research & Training Network)

Assistant Professor of Medicine (Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation)

Clinical Research Scientist, Eastern Health Authority, Adjunct Professor, Dalhousie University School of Physiotherapy
Co-Director Rehabilitation Research Unit of Newfoundland and Labrador (RRUNL)
L.A. Miller Centre, 100 Forest Rd.
St. John’s NL Canada A1A 1E5

t: 709 777-2099

Dr. Ploughman is a recognized expert in neuroplasticity and neurorehabilitation in stroke and multiple sclerosis. Her research focuses on the effects of aerobic exercise, intensive training paradigms and lifestyle habits on the brain challenged by injury, disease and aging. Dr. Ploughman was a Canadian Institutes of Health Research post-doctoral fellow and her work is published in journals such as Stroke, Neuroscience, Brain Research and Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. She is the Principal Investigator for the Canadian Survey of Health, Lifestyle and Aging with Multiple Sclerosis; the largest study of aging with MS in Canada with over 740 participants from 10 study sites. Dr. Ploughman continues to practice as a neurological physiotherapist in St John’s and her Recovery and Performance Laboratory is located in the Rehabilitation Research Unit (RRUNL), L.A. Miller Centre, St. John’s NL.

Peer-Reviewed Publications:
1.    Ploughman M, Harris C, Hogan S, Murray C, Murdoch M, Austin MW, Stefanelli M. Navigating the ‘liberation procedure’: A qualitative study of motivating and hesitating factors among people with multiple sclerosis. Accepted Patient Preference and Adherence May 20, 2014.

2.    Murray C, Ploughman M, Harris C, Hogan S, Murdoch M, Austin MW, Stefanelli M. “Do or Die”: The pro- and anti-liberation procedure decision-making experience for people living with multiple sclerosis. Accepted Global Qualitative Nursing Research February 1, 2014.

3.    Ploughman M, Austin MW, Glynn L, Corbett D. The effects of post-stroke aerobic exercise on neuroplasticity: A systematic review of animal and clinical studies. Translational Stroke Research.  July 2014 PMID:25023134 [Epub ahead of print]

4.    Austin MW, Ploughman M, Glynn L, Corbett D. Aerobic exercise effects on neuroprotection and brain repair following stroke: A systematic review and perspective. Neuroscience Research. 2014 Jul 2. pii: S0168-0102(14)00118-7. doi: 10.1016/j.neures.2014.06.007. [Epub ahead of print].

5.    Ploughman M, Shears J, Harris C, Hogan SH, Drodge O, Squires S, McCarthy J. Effectiveness of a novel community exercise transition program for people with moderate to severe neurological disabilities. NeuroRehabilitation. 2014 Jul 2. [Epub ahead of print]

6.    Ploughman M, Beaulieu S, Harris C, Hogan S, Manning OJ, Alderdice PW, Fisk JD,
        Sadovnick AD, O’Connor P, Morrow SA, Metz LM, Smyth P, Mayo N, Marrie RA, Knox KB, Stefanelli M, Godwin M. The Canadian survey of health, lifestyle and ageing with multiple sclerosis: methodology and initial results. BMJ Open. 2014 Jul 10;4(7):e005718. Available here;
7.    Penney T, Ploughman M, Austin MW, Behm D, Byrne JM. Determining the role of gluteus medius and the validity of the single leg stance test in chronic non-specific low back pain. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2014 Jun 30. pii: S0003-9993(14)00440-7. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2014.06.009. [Epub ahead of print]

8.    Marrie RA, Yu BN, Leung S, Elliott L, Caetano P, Warren S, Wolfson C, Patten SB, Svenson LW, Tremlett H, Fisk J, Blanchard JF, for the CIHR Team in the Epidemiology and Impact of Comorbidity on Multiple Sclerosis.  The utility of administrative data for surveillance of comorbidity in multiple sclerosis: a validation study. Neuroepidemiology. 2013;40(2):85-92. Available here:

9.    Ploughman M, Austin MW, Murdoch M, Kearney A, Godwin M, Stefanelli M. The path to self-management: A qualitative study involving older people with multiple sclerosis. Physiotherapy Canada 2012: 64(1): 6-17.

10.    Ploughman M, Austin MW, Murdoch M, Kearney A, Fisk JD, Godwin M, Stefanelli M. Factors influencing healthy aging with multiple sclerosis: A qualitative study. Disability & Rehabilitation 2012: 34(1): 26-33.

11.    Ploughman M., Austin M, Stefanelli M, Godwin M. Applying cognitive debriefing to pre-test patient-reported outcomes in older people with Multiple Sclerosis. Quality of Life Research 2010: 19(2): 483-7.

12.    Ploughman M, Windle V, MacLellan CL, White N, Doré JJE, Corbett D. Brain derived neurotrophic factor contributes to recovery of skilled reaching after focal ischemia in rats. Stroke 2009: 40: 1490-95. Available here:

13.    Ploughman M, McCarthy J, Sullivan HJ, Bossé M, Corbett D. Does treadmill exercise improve performance of cognitive or upper extremity tasks in people with chronic stroke? A randomized cross-over trial. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2008: 89(11):2041-7.

14.    Ploughman M. Exercise is Brain Food: The Effects of Physical Activity on Cognitive Function (Invited Commentary). Developmental Neurorehabilitation 2008:11(3):236-40

15.    Ploughman M, Shears J, Hutchings L, Osmond M. Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy for severe upper extremity impairment in an outpatient rehabilitation setting; a case report. Physiotherapy Canada 2008:60:161-70 Silver Quill Award Winner. Available here:

16.    Ploughman M, Attwood Z, White N, Doré JJE, Corbett D. Endurance exercise facilitates relearning of forelimb motor skill after focal ischemia. European Journal of Neuroscience 2007:25:3453-3460.

17.    Hicks AU, Hewlett K, Windle W, Chernenko G, Ploughman M, Jolkkonen J, Weiss S, Corbett D. Enriched environment enhances transplanted SVZ stem cell survival, migration and functional recovery after stroke. Neuroscience 2007:146(1):31-40.

18.    Ploughman M, Granter-Button S, Chernenko G, Attwood Z, Tucker BA, Mearow KM, Corbett D. Exercise intensity influences the temporal profile of growth factors involved in neuronal plasticity following focal ischemia. Brain Research 2007:1150:207-216.

19.    Clarke J, Ploughman M, Corbett D. A qualitative and quantitative analysis of skilled forelimb reaching impairment following intracerebral hemorrhage in rats. Brain Research 2007:1145:204-212.

20.    Ploughman, M, Granter-Button, S, Chernenko, G, Tucker, B.A., Mearow, K.M, Corbett, D. Endurance exercise regimens induce differential effects on brain derived neurotrophic factor, synapsin-I and insulin-like growth factor-I after focal ischemia. Neuroscience 2005:136(4):991-1001.

21.     Ploughman, M., Corbett, D. Can forced-use therapy be clinically applied after stroke? A randomized controlled exploratory trial. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2004:85:1417-1423.

22.    Ploughman, M. A review of brain neuroplasticity and implications for the physiotherapeutic management of stroke. Physiotherapy Canada 2002:54(3):163-176.