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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

What brought me to MUN? What keeps me at MUN?
I was born in Labrador, grew up in Newfoundland and after attending university in Nova Scotia, returned to St. John’s to begin my career. When I decided to begin graduate studies I found Memorial University’s, Faculty of Medicine offered me the environment and opportunities I needed to be successful. Memorial University genuinely strives to meet its mission: to serve the people of Newfoundland & Labrador. You can see that every day in how it supports its faculty and students.

Post-doctoral fellow (CIHR):  “Health, lifestyle and aging with multiple sclerosis”
Atlantic endMS Regional Research and Training Network (supervisors Dr. JD Fisk, Dalhousie University and Dr. M Godwin, Memorial University) 2008-2012
PhD Neuroscience (with distinction): “The effects of exercise on neurotrophins, neuroplasticity and functional recovery in a rat model of focal ischemia” BioMedical Science, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University (supervisor Dr. D. Corbett) 2003-07
MSc Neuroscience: “An examination of constraint-induced therapy as a method to intensify intervention and improve functional outcome during the rehabilitation phase of stroke” BioMedical Science, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University (supervisor Dr. D Corbett) 2000-03
BSc Physiotherapy: Dalhousie University 1984-88

Physiotherapy Clinical Practice Leader in Neuroscience, Eastern Health, St. John`s NL (1991-2003 & 2007-08).  Most senior physiotherapist specializing in the rehabilitative management of neurological disorders including stroke, Parkinson’s disease, MS, and traumatic brain and spinal cord injury; Member of the MS and Movement Disorders Provincial Clinics within Eastern Health.
Research/Teaching Summary:
Dr. Ploughman is a physiotherapist and neuroscientist; 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 is a Canada Research Chair in Neuroplasticity, Neurorehabilitation and Brain Recovery. 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.

Awards: (Partial list)
Client Services Ambassador, MS Society of Canada 2014
Dr. Tony Hakim Stroke Recovery Research Award, Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery 2013
Age+ Prize for Research, Canadian Institutes for Health Research 2011
Gold Prize in Aging Research, Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Applied Health Research/ Canadian Institutes of Health Research /Institute of Aging 2010
Silver Quill Award for Excellence in Research, Physiotherapy Canada 2009
National Clinical Education Award, Canadian Physiotherapy Association 1999

1. Kirkland MC, Wallack EM, Rancourt SN, Ploughman, M. Comparing three dual-task methods and the relationship to physical and cognitive impairment in people with multiple sclerosis and controls. Multiple Sclerosis International October 2015 doi:10.1155/2015/650645
2. Ploughman M, Harris C, Wallack EM, Drodge O, Beaulieu S, Mayo N and the Health Lifestyle and Aging with MS Canadian Consortium. Predictors of exercise participation among ambulatory and non-ambulatory older people with multiple sclerosis. PeerJ 2015 3:e1158; DOI 10.7717/peerj.1158
3. Plemel J.R., Juzwik C.A., Benson C.A., Monks M., Harris C., Ploughman M. Over–the-counter anti-oxidant therapies for use in multiple sclerosis: a systematic review. Multiple Sclerosis Journal 2015 DOI: 10.1177/1352458515601513 PMID 26286700
4. Ploughman M, Manning OJ, Beaulieu S, Harris C, Hogan S, Alderdice PW, Fisk JD, Sadovnick AD, O’Connor P, Morrow SA, Metz LM, Smyth P, Mayo N, Marrie RA, Stefanelli M, Godwin M. Predictors of Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency procedure use among older people with multiple sclerosis: A national case-control study. BMC Health Serv Res. 2015 Apr 16;15(1):161. doi: 10.1186/s12913-015-0835-y. PMID 25881078
5. 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.  2015 Feb;6(1):13-28. doi: 10.1007/s12975-014-0357-7. PMID:25023134
6. Ploughman M. Community-Based Stroke Rehabilitation: Recovery continued? Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences 41(6) Nov 2014 679-80 Oct 2014. doi:10.1017/cjn.20
7. Ploughman M, Deshpande N, Latimer-Cheung A, Finlayson M. Drawing on related knowledge to advance MS falls prevention research. International Journal of MS Care 16(4)2014. 10.7224/1537-2073.2014-052. PMID 25694774
8. 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. Global Qualitative Nursing Research 2014. DOI: 10.1177/2333393614551413
9. 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. Patient Preference and Adherence 2014 Sep 10:8: 1205-13. doi: 10.2147/PPA.S65483. PMID 25228799
10. 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 Oct;87C:8-15. doi: 10.1016/j.neures.2014.06.007. PMID 24997243 
11. 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;35(1):105-12. doi: 10.3233/NRE-141090. PMID 24997243
12. 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. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2014-005718. PMID 25011993
13. 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 Oct;95(10):1969-76.doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2014.06.009.  PMID 24992020
14. Marrie RA, Yu BN, Leung S, Elliott L, Caetano P, Blanchard JF, Svenson LW, Profetto-  McGrath J, Warren S, Wolfson C, Jette N, Patten SB, Evans C, Tremlett H, Fisk J, Bhan V, Ploughman M. Performance of administrative case definitions for comorbidity in multiple sclerosis in Manitoba and Nova Scotia. Chronic Diseases and Injuries in Canada 2014 Jul:34(2-3):145-53. PMID 24991777
15. 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. doi: 10.1159/000343188. PMID 23095571 
16. 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 Winter;64(1):6-17. doi: 10.3138/ptc.2010-42. PMID 23277680.
17. 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. doi: 10.3109/09638288.2011.585212. PMID 21902450
18. 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: May;19(4):483-7. doi: 10.1007/s11136-010-9602-z. PMID 20151208.
19. 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: Apr;40(4):1490-5. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.108.53180. PMID 19164786.
20. 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: Nov;89(11):2041-7. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2008.05.017. PMID 18996231
21. Ploughman M. Exercise is Brain Food: The Effects of Physical Activity on Cognitive Function Developmental Neurorehabilitation 2008: Jul;11(3):236-40. doi: 10.1080/17518420801997007. PMID 18781504.
22. Ploughman M, Shears J, Hutchings L, Osmond M. Collaborating to provide Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy for severe upper extremity impairment in an outpatient rehabilitation setting; a case report. Physiotherapy Canada 60(2):161-70. doi: 10.3138/physio.60.2.161 Silver Quill Award Winner. PMID 20145779.
23. 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. PMID 17553014.
24. 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. PMID 17320299
25. 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. PMID 17382914.
26. 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. PMID 17346685.
27. 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. PMID 16203102
28. 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. PMID 15375810
29. Ploughman, M. A review of brain neuroplasticity and implications for the physiotherapeutic management of stroke. Physiotherapy Canada 2002:54(3):163-176.
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