Personalized medicine and ‘everything-omics’

PUBLICATION: Topol EJ (2014). Individualized medicine from prewomb to tomb. Cell 157: 241-253.   WHAT DID THEY SAY IN THIS RESEARCH REVIEW? The case for ‘personalized medicine’ is promulgated more and more, but one difficulty is that what the term means is often unclear. To some it means no more than a personal appraisal by […]

Individualized medicine

Radiography of a wrist fracture

Who gets Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?

PUBLICATION: Moseley GL, Herbert RD, Parsons T, Lucas S, van Hilten JJ, Marinus J (2014) Intense pain soon after wrist fracture strongly predicts who will develop complex regional pain syndrome: prospective cohort study. J Pain 15: 16-23.   WHY DID WE DO THIS RESEARCH? Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a disabling condition that causes […]


Electrical stimulation exercise in advanced multiple sclerosis

PUBLICATION: Fornusek C, Hoang P (2014). Neuromuscular electrical stimulation cycling exercise for persons with advanced multiple sclerosis. J Rehabil Med, in press.   WHY DID WE DO THIS RESEARCH? People with multiple sclerosis (MS) are generally less active than the general population which may lead to deconditioning that further reduces functional abilities. Regular exercise is […]

Dr Fornusek and a participant with MS prepare to begin a session of electrical stimulation cycling.

Aquatic exercise

Whether you are a fish or a land lover, exercise is beneficial for musculoskeletal motor impairments

PUBLICATION Barker AL, Talevski J, Morello RT, Brand CA, Rahmann AE, Urquhart DM (2014). Effectiveness of aquatic exercise for musculoskeletal conditions: A meta-analysis. Archives of Physcal Medicine and Rehabilitation. Apr 22. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2014.04.005. WHY DID THEY DO THIS RESEARCH? Musculoskeletal conditions such as osteoarthritis, lower back pain and fibromyalgia are the most common causes for utilizing […]


Neuroimaging the brain areas activated by muscle and cutaneous afferents

PUBLICATION Wardman DL, Gandevia SC, Colebatch JG (2014). Cerebral, subcortical, and cerebellar activation evoked by selective stimulation of muscle and cutaneous afferents: an fMRI study. Physiological reports 2, e00270. WHY DID WE DO THIS RESEARCH Inputs from specialised cutaneous and muscle afferents are crucial for tactile manipulation and accurate movement and postural control.  Both sets […]

Activations in response to muscle stimulation. Group brain activation in response to stimulation of the motor point of the right first dorsal interosseus muscle. The axial/horizontal sections in the upper row show activation areas at the sensorimotor cortex. Sections in the middle row show activation areas in the second sensory area, thalamus, and insula. Sections in the lower row show activation areas in the right and midline cerebellum, including the nucleus (dentate).

Participant seated in the experimental apperatus. Visible are the leather sleeve and metal occluder positioned on the participant's left forearm. The skin on either side of the metal occluder was brushed (not pictured), and the effect this had on touch localization was assessed by participants pointing on a digitizing table (gray divider between the subject's body and left arm) where they felt the tactile target.

How do we know the location of something we feel on our skin?

PUBLICATION Seizova-Cajic T, Taylor JL (2014). Somatosensory space abridged: rapid change in tactile localization using a motion stimulus. PLoS One, March DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone 0090892   WHY DID WE DO THIS RESEARCH When we are touched on the skin, sensory receptors in that location fire and send a signal via nerves to the brain, but this is […]


The effects of fatigue on reaction time in people with multiple sclerosis

PUBLICATION Barr C, McLoughlin J, Lord SR, Crotty M, Sturnieks DL (2014).Walking for six minutes increases both simple reaction time and stepping reaction time in moderately disabled people with Multiple Sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.msard.2014.01.002.   WHY DID WE DO THIS RESEARCH People with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) often report fatigue and reduced capacity […]

An example of a single trial of the Choice Stepping Reaction-time Test.

Magnetic resonance elastography, an MRI-based technique, relies on the principle that the propagation of a vibration wave through tissue depends on its mechanical properties. In upper airway elastography, a vibration from a mouth guard propagates through bones into the tongue and soft palate. The top panel identifies the key anatomical structures and the two lower panels show the elastic properties for a normal subject and a matched obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patient. Note the lower stiffness in the tongue of the OSA patient. Dashed lines outline the tongue and soft palate.

The human upper airway and its neuromechanical behaviour

PUBLICATION Bilston L & Gandevia S (2014). Biomechanical properties of the human upper airway and their effect on its behavior during breathing and in obstructive sleep apnea. J Appl Physiol 116, 314 –324. WHY DID WE DO THIS RESEARCH Obstructive sleep apnoea is a common disorder which is linked to increased incidence of stroke, myocardial infarction and heart failure (for […]


Balancing act: calf muscles and standing balance

PUBLICATION Héroux ME, Dakin CJ, Luu BL, Inglis JT, Blouin JS (2014). Absence of lateral gastrocnemius activity and differential motor unit behavior in soleus and medial gastrocnemius during standing balance. J Appl Physiol 116, 140-148.   WHY DID WE DO THIS RESEARCH Similar to a pencil balanced on a finger tip, the standing human body is inherently […]

Motor unit recordings from a study participant. In standing balance there was Intermittent motor unit activity in the medial gastrocnemius muscle (red) and continuous activity in the soleus muscle (blue). Interestingly, there was no motor unit activity in the lateral gastrocnemius muscle (middle three recordings). When the participant was supported and performed a ramp and hold contraction, motor units in the lateral gastrocnemius muscle were recruited much later than those from the other parts of the triceps surae.

Researchers Dr. Daina Sturnieks and Dr. Ben Barry collect biomechanical data from a study participant walking on an instrumented walkway.

Should we train proprioception in people with knee osteoarthritis?

PUBLICATION: Barry BK, & Sturnieks DL (2014). How important are perturbation responses and joint proprioception to knee osteoarthritis? Journal of Applied Physiology, 116(1), 1–2.   WHY DID WE WRITE THIS EDITORIAL? Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is a painful condition that can substantially interfere with peoples’ daily activities. It will affect one in two people over their […]