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1.  Instrumenting gait assessment using the Kinect in people living with stroke: reliability and association with balance tests 
The Microsoft Kinect has been used previously to assess spatiotemporal aspects of gait; however the reliability of this system for the assessment of people following stroke has not been established. This study examined the reliability and additional information that the Kinect provides when instrumenting a gait assessment in people living with stroke.
The spatiotemporal variables of step length, step length asymmetry, foot swing velocity, foot swing velocity asymmetry, peak and mean gait speed and the percentage difference between the peak and mean gait speed were assessed during gait trials in 30 outpatients more than three months post-stroke and able to stand unsupported. Additional clinical assessments of functional reach (FR), step test (ST), 10 m walk test (10MWT) and the timed up and go (TUG) were performed, along with force platform instrumented assessments of center of pressure path length velocity during double-legged standing balance with eyes closed (DLEC), weight bearing asymmetry (WBA) and dynamic medial-lateral weight-shifting ability (MLWS). These tests were performed on two separate occasions, seven days apart for reliability assessment. Separate adjusted multiple regressions models for predicting scores on the clinical and force platform assessments were created using 1) the easily assessed clinically-derived gait variables 10MWT time and total number of steps; and 2) the Kinect-derived variables which were found to be reliable (ICC > 0.75) and not strongly correlated (Spearman’s ρ < 0.80) with each other (i.e. non-redundant).
Kinect-derived variables were found to be highly reliable (all ICCs > 0.80), but many were redundant. The final regression model using Kinect-derived variables consisted of the asymmetry scores, mean gait velocity, affected limb foot swing velocity and the difference between peak and mean gait velocity. In comparison with the clinically-derived regression model, the Kinect-derived model accounted for >15% more variance on the MLWS, ST and FR tests and scored similarly on all other measures.
In conclusion, instrumenting gait using the Kinect is reliable and provides insight into the dynamic balance capacity of people living with stroke. This system provides a minimally intrusive method of examining potentially important gait characteristics in people living with stroke.
PMCID: PMC4333881
Rehabilitation; Measurement; Brain injury; Walking; 10 meter walk test
2.  Evaluating the effects of increasing physical activity to optimize rehabilitation outcomes in hospitalized older adults (MOVE Trial): study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2015;16:13.
Older adults who have received inpatient rehabilitation often have significant mobility disability at discharge. Physical activity levels in rehabilitation are also low. It is hypothesized that providing increased physical activity to older people receiving hospital-based rehabilitation will lead to better mobility outcomes at discharge.
A single blind, parallel-group, multisite randomized controlled trial with blinded assessment of outcome and intention-to-treat analysis. The cost effectiveness of the intervention will also be examined. Older people (age >60 years) undergoing inpatient rehabilitation to improve mobility will be recruited from geriatric rehabilitation units at two Australian hospitals. A computer-generated blocked stratified randomization sequence will be used to assign 198 participants in a 1:1 ratio to either an ‘enhanced physical activity’ (intervention) group or a ‘usual care plus’ (control) group for the duration of their inpatient stay. Participants will receive usual care and either spend time each week performing additional physical activities such as standing or walking (intervention group) or performing an equal amount of social activities that have minimal impact on mobility such as card and board games (control group). Self-selected gait speed will be measured using a 6-meter walk test at discharge (primary outcome) and 6 months follow-up (secondary outcome). The study is powered to detect a 0.1 m/sec increase in self-selected gait speed in the intervention group at discharge. Additional measures of mobility (Timed Up and Go, De Morton Mobility Index), function (Functional Independence Measure) and quality of life will be obtained as secondary outcomes at discharge and tertiary outcomes at 6 months follow-up. The trial commenced recruitment on 28 January 2014.
This study will evaluate the efficacy and cost effectiveness of increasing physical activity in older people during inpatient rehabilitation. These results will assist in the development of evidenced-based rehabilitation programs for this population.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12613000884707 (Date of registration 08 August 2013); Identifier NCT01910740 (Date of registration 22 July 2013).
PMCID: PMC4302720  PMID: 25588907
mobility limitation; rehabilitation; exercise therapy; hospitalization; randomized controlled trial
3.  Instrumented Static and Dynamic Balance Assessment after Stroke Using Wii Balance Boards: Reliability and Association with Clinical Tests 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e115282.
Background and Objectives
The Wii Balance Board (WBB) is a globally accessible device that shows promise as a clinically useful balance assessment tool. Although the WBB has been found to be comparable to a laboratory-grade force platform for obtaining centre of pressure data, it has not been comprehensively studied in clinical populations. The aim of this study was to investigate the measurement properties of tests utilising the WBB in people after stroke.
Thirty individuals who were more than three months post-stroke and able to stand unsupported were recruited from a single outpatient rehabilitation facility. Participants performed standardised assessments incorporating the WBB and customised software (static stance with eyes open and closed, static weight-bearing asymmetry, dynamic mediolateral weight shifting and dynamic sit-to-stand) in addition to commonly employed clinical tests (10 Metre Walk Test, Timed Up and Go, Step Test and Functional Reach) on two testing occasions one week apart. Test-retest reliability and construct validity of the WBB tests were investigated.
All WBB-based outcomes were found to be highly reliable between testing occasions (ICC  = 0.82 to 0.98). Correlations were poor to moderate between WBB variables and clinical tests, with the strongest associations observed between task-related activities, such as WBB mediolateral weight shifting and the Step Test.
The WBB, used with customised software, is a reliable and potentially useful tool for the assessment of balance and weight-bearing asymmetry following stroke. Future research is recommended to further investigate validity and responsiveness.
PMCID: PMC4277284  PMID: 25541939
4.  Feasibility, Safety, and Compliance in a Randomized Controlled Trial of Physical Therapy for Parkinson's Disease 
Parkinson's Disease  2011;2012:795294.
Both efficacy and clinical feasibility deserve consideration in translation of research outcomes. This study evaluated the feasibility of rehabilitation programs within the context of a large randomized controlled trial of physical therapy. Ambulant participants with Parkinson's disease (PD) (n = 210) were randomized into three groups: (1) progressive strength training (PST); (2) movement strategy training (MST); or (3) control (“life skills”). PST and MST included fall prevention education. Feasibility was evaluated in terms of safety, retention, adherence, and compliance measures. Time to first fall during the intervention phase did not differ across groups, and adverse effects were minimal. Retention was high; only eight participants withdrew during or after the intervention phase. Strong adherence (attendance >80%) did not differ between groups (P = .435). Compliance in the therapy groups was high. All three programs proved feasible, suggesting they may be safely implemented for people with PD in community-based clinical practice.
PMCID: PMC3236432  PMID: 22191076
5.  Health-related quality of life of ambulant adults with cerebral palsy and its association with falls and mobility decline: a preliminary cross sectional study 
Despite an increasing number of studies examining the profile of falls and mobility decline in adults with cerebral palsy (CP), little is known about its impact on an individual’s life quality. The aim of this preliminary study was to assess the wellbeing and health status aspects of health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in ambulant adults with CP and explore the relationship of falls and mobility decline with HRQOL.
Ambulant adults with CP completed postal surveys which sought demographic data, mobility (Gross Motor Function Classification System; GMFCS-E&R), presence of mobility decline, falls history, and HRQOL (Personal Wellbeing Index (PWI), Short Form-36 Health Survey (SF-36)).
Thirty-four community-dwelling ambulant adults with CP with a mean age of 44.2 years (SD; 8.6; range 26–65) participated. Twenty-eight (82%) participants reported mobility decline since reaching adulthood, and a similar proportion of individuals (82%) reported having had more than two falls in the previous year. The health status and wellbeing of this sample of ambulant adults with CP were generally lower compared with the Australian normative population. Mobility decline was found by univariate regression analysis to be associated with mental health status (β = 0.52; p = 0.002), but not when other predictor variables were included in the multivariate model (β = 0.27; p = 0.072). In contrast, self-reported history of falls was found to be a significant contributing factor for both physical health status (β = −0.55; p = 0.002) and personal wellbeing (β = −0.43; p = 0.006).
This sample of ambulant adults with CP perceived their HRQOL to be poor, with some health status and wellbeing domains below that of population wide comparisons. A majority of these individuals also experienced a fall in the last year and a decline in their mobility since reaching adulthood. While further research is required, this preliminary study has highlighted the potential implications of falls and mobility decline on HRQOL in adults with CP.
PMCID: PMC4243784  PMID: 25176595
6.  Health-Related Quality of Life of Australians with Parkinson Disease: A Comparison with International Studies 
Physiotherapy Canada  2012;64(4):338-346.
Purpose: This study describes the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of Australians living with Parkinson disease (PD) and compares the findings to international reports. Methods: The Parkinson's Disease Questionnaire-39 (PDQ-39) was used to measure HRQOL in 210 individuals with PD living in Australia. In parallel, a tailored literature search identified previous studies on HROQL in people with PD. A quantitative meta-analysis with a random-effects model was used to compare the HRQOL of individuals with PD living in Australia and other countries. Results: The mean PDQ-39 summary index (SI) score for this sample of Australians with PD was 20.9 (SD 12.7). Ratings for the dimension of social support and stigma were significantly lower than ratings for bodily discomfort, mobility, activities of daily living, cognition, and emotional well-being. Comparing the Australian and international PD samples revealed a significant heterogeneity in overall HRQOL (I2=97%). The mean PDQ-39 SI scores for Australians were lower, indicating better HRQOL relative to samples from other countries. Conclusions: This Australian sample with PD perceived their HRQOL as poor, although it was less severely compromised than that of international samples. While further research is required, these findings can inform the clinical decision-making processes of physiotherapists.
PMCID: PMC3484904  PMID: 23997388
Australia; meta-analysis; Parkinson disease; quality of life; Australie; maladie de Parkinson; méta-analyse; physiothérapie; qualité de vie
7.  Health-related quality of life and strain in caregivers of Australians with Parkinson’s disease: An observational study 
BMC Neurology  2012;12:57.
The relationship between health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in people with Parkinson’s disease and their caregivers is little understood and any effects on caregiver strain remain unclear. This paper examines these relationships in an Australian sample.
Using the generic EuroQol (EQ-5D) and disease-specific Parkinson’s Disease Questionnaire-39 Item (PDQ-39), HRQoL was evaluated in a sample of 97 people with PD and their caregivers. Caregiver strain was assessed using the Modified Caregiver Strain Index. Associations were evaluated between: (i) caregiver and care-recipient HRQoL; (ii) caregiver HRQoL and caregiver strain, and; (iii) between caregiver strain and care-recipient HRQoL.
No statistically significant relationships were found between caregiver and care-recipient HRQoL, or between caregiver HRQoL and caregiver strain. Although this Australian sample of caregivers experienced relatively good HRQoL and moderately low strain, a significant correlation was found between HRQoL of people with PD and caregiver strain (rho 0.43, p < .001).
Poor HRQoL in people with PD is associated with higher strain in caregivers. Therapy interventions may target problems reported as most troublesome by people with PD, with potential to reduce strain on the caregiver.
PMCID: PMC3434109  PMID: 22804846
8.  Protocol for a home-based integrated physical therapy program to reduce falls and improve mobility in people with Parkinson’s disease 
BMC Neurology  2012;12:54.
The high incidence of falls associated with Parkinson’s disease (PD) increases the risk of injuries and immobility and compromises quality of life. Although falls education and strengthening programs have shown some benefit in healthy older people, the ability of physical therapy interventions in home settings to reduce falls and improve mobility in people with Parkinson’s has not been convincingly demonstrated.
180 community living people with PD will be randomly allocated to receive either a home-based integrated rehabilitation program (progressive resistance strength training, movement strategy training and falls education) or a home-based life skills program (control intervention). Both programs comprise one hour of treatment and one hour of structured homework per week over six weeks of home therapy. Blinded assessments occurring before therapy commences, the week after completion of therapy and 12 months following intervention will establish both the immediate and long-term benefits of home-based rehabilitation. The number of falls, number of repeat falls, falls rate and time to first fall will be the primary measures used to quantify outcome. The economic costs associated with injurious falls, and the costs of running the integrated rehabilitation program from a health system perspective will be established. The effects of intervention on motor and global disability and on quality of life will also be examined.
This study will provide new evidence on the outcomes and cost effectiveness of home-based movement rehabilitation programs for people living with PD.
Trial registration
The trial is registered on the Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12608000390381).
PMCID: PMC3436761  PMID: 22799601
Parkinson’s disease; Accidental falls; Randomized controlled trial; Falls prevention
9.  Falls and mobility in Parkinson's disease: protocol for a randomised controlled clinical trial 
BMC Neurology  2011;11:93.
Although physical therapy and falls prevention education are argued to reduce falls and disability in people with idiopathic Parkinson's disease, this has not yet been confirmed with a large scale randomised controlled clinical trial. The study will investigate the effects on falls, mobility and quality of life of (i) movement strategy training combined with falls prevention education, (ii) progressive resistance strength training combined with falls prevention education, (iii) a generic life-skills social program (control group).
People with idiopathic Parkinson's disease who live at home will be recruited and randomly allocated to one of three groups. Each person shall receive therapy in an out-patient setting in groups of 3-4. Each group shall be scheduled to meet once per week for 2 hours for 8 consecutive weeks. All participants will also have a structured 2 hour home practice program for each week during the 8 week intervention phase. Assessments will occur before therapy, after the 8 week therapy program, and at 3 and 12 months after the intervention. A falls calendar will be kept by each participant for 12 months after outpatient therapy.
Consistent with the recommendations of the Prevention of Falls Network Europe group, three falls variables will be used as the primary outcome measures: the number of fallers, the number of multiple fallers and the falls rate. In addition to quantifying falls, we shall measure mobility, activity limitations and quality of life as secondary outcomes.
This study has the potential to determine whether outpatient movement strategy training combined with falls prevention education or progressive resistance strength training combined with falls prevention education are effective for reducing falls and improving mobility and life quality in people with Parkinson's disease who live at home.
Trial registration
Australia and New Zealand Clinical Trials Register (ANZCTR): ACTRN12606000344594
PMCID: PMC3160881  PMID: 21801451
10.  Cost effectiveness of preventing falls and improving mobility in people with Parkinson disease: protocol for an economic evaluation alongside a clinical trial 
BMC Geriatrics  2008;8:23.
Cost of illness studies show that Parkinson disease (PD) is costly for individuals, the healthcare system and society. The costs of PD include both direct and indirect costs associated with falls and related injuries.
This protocol describes a prospective economic analysis conducted alongside a randomised controlled trial (RCT). It evaluates whether physical therapy is more cost effective than usual care from the perspective of the health care system. Cost effectiveness will be evaluated using a three-way comparison of the cost per fall averted and the cost per quality adjusted life year saved across two physical therapy interventions and a control group.
This study has the potential to determine whether targetted physical therapy as an adjunct to standard care can be cost effective in reducing falls in people with PD.
Trial Registration
No: ACTRN12606000344594
PMCID: PMC2573876  PMID: 18823565

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