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Rehabilitation Research Unit of Newfoundland and Labrador

Rehabilitation Research Unit of NL

Current Projects

HITMS Database
Our objective is to track MS annually for ten years using innovative methods in a cross-disciplinary team. We will identify novel biomarkers and disease targets to limit progression in MS. Specific research questions:
1. Can we identify novel cellular mechanisms responsible for promoting inflammation in MS?
2. Do these markers relate to changes in brain imaging, cognitive/physical performance, drug therapy, and/or disease relapse and progression?
3. Does brain atrophy and excitability of the brain correlate with subtle deficits in cognitive/physical performance such as dual-task ability (walking and thinking at the same time)?
Participants will be enrolled and data will be updated annually during regularly scheduled visits to the MS clinic (or in the event of a change in the participant's clinical status/medications). The study duration is anticipated to continue for at least 10 years (2015-25).  
The following data profiles will be captured for each study participant: 


MS Aerobic Exercise Intervention
Aim 1: To determine the optimal aerobic training methods among people with motor disability due to mild (relapsing-remitting (RRMS)) and moderate disease (secondary progressive (SPMS) or primary progressive (PPMS))
Aim 2: Explore in a preliminary way, the effects of aerobic training and room cooling on threshold and latency of motor evoked potentials (MEP) of medial gastrocnemius and tibialis anterior.
Aim 3: Determine if aerobic exercise worsens neuromotor performance on the Timed Up and Go Test (TUG; time to complete 3m walk on automated walkway).
Aim 4: Examine the feasibility of conducting the trial (recruitment, timing of assessments and interventions, coordination, subject fatigue) and collecting pilot data (serum BDNF, IGF-I, MEP, mobility) in order to inform future clinical trials.

Stroke and Cognition
Purpose: To develop an effective hybrid approach to cognitive rehabilitation after stroke via the conceptually driven integration of two effective but independent therapies – aerobic training (AT) and cognitive exercises (CE).
Aim 1: To investigate synergistic effects of AT and CE on measures of cognitive function after stroke.
Aim 2: To compare effects of order of performing AT and CE during training (i.e., AT, then CE vs CE, then AT) on cognitive outcomes.
Aim 3: To investigate, in a preliminary way, underlying observed training-induced changes in cognitive function via measurement of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) in peripheral blood samples.
Aim 4: To assess the feasibility of this dual study as a pilot study in terms of inter/intra-site collaborations among existing and newly created partnerships, trainee environments, and proposed milestones.

Recent Publications
  1. Ploughman M and Kelly LP. Four birds with one stone? Reparative, Neuroplastic, Cardiorespiratory and Metabolic Benefits of Aerobic Exercise Post-stroke. Current Opinion in Neurology Sept 2016. IF 4.46
  2. Kirkland MC, Downer MB, Holloway BJ, Wallack EM, Lockyer EJ, Buckle NCM, Abbott CL, Ploughman M. Bipedal hopping reveals evidence of advanced neuromuscular aging among people with mild multiple sclerosis. Accepted Journal of Motor Behavior August 2016 IF 1.57
  3. Ploughman M, Collins K, Wallack EM, Monks M, Mayo NE and the Health, Lifestyle and Aging with MS Canadian Consortium Women and men have different experiences of health, lifestyle and aging with multiple sclerosis. Accepted International Journal of MS Care. May 2016.
  4. Wallack EM, Wiseman HD, Ploughman M. Healthy aging from the perspective of 683 older people with multiple sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis International doi: 10.1155/2016/1845720 July 2016.
  5. Downer MB, Kirkland MC, Wallack EM, Ploughman M. Walking impairs cognitive performance among people with multiple sclerosis but not controls. Human Movement Science 2016 Jun 29;49:124-131. doi: 10.1016/j.humov.2016.06.010 IF 1.66
  6. Soposnik G, Cohen L, Mamdani M, Pooyania S, Ploughman M, Cheung D, Shaw J, Hall J, Nord P, Dukelow S, Nilanont Y, Olmos L, Levin M, Teasell R, Cohen A, Thorpe K, Laupacis A, Bayley M. Efficacy of virtual reality exercising using Wii gaming technology in stroke Rehabilitation (EVREST Multicenter): A Randomized Controlled Trial. The Lancet Neurology June 2016. IF 23.47
  7. Hasan S.M.M., Rancourt S.N., Austin M.W., Ploughman M. Defining optimal aerobic exercise parameters to affect complex motor and cognitive outcomes after stroke: A systematic review and synthesis. Neural Plasticity 2016; doi:10.1155/2016/2961573. IF 3.58
  8. 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 New journal no IF yet
  9. 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 IF 2.11
  10. 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 IF 4.67
  11. 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 IF 1.71
  12. 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 IF 2.44
  13. 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 IF 1.04
  14. 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 New journal no IF yet
  15. 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 New journal no IF yet
  16. 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 IF 1.68
  17. 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 IF 2.97
  18. 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 IF 1.12
  19. 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 IF 2.27
  20. 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 IF 2.57
  21. 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 IF 1.63
  22. 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 IF 2.56
  23. 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. IF 0.77
  24. 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 IF 1.99
  25. 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. IF 2.49
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