Effectiveness of stroke rehabilitation is important; there are about 62,000 strokes in Canada every year and more than 400,000 people living with long-term disability from stroke. Stroke survivors say that regaining walking ability is a top priority; but, reduced balance often limits community levels of mobility. Today’s stroke rehabilitation treatment decisions are guided by observed limitations to balance and walking, and not by brain measures. Differences in how much balance recovery someone achieves likely stems from the brain’s ability to recover after stroke.
I am working on strategies for stroke recovery based on neuronal activity. Stroke results in an irreversible primary injury, and a salvageable secondary injury in the surrounding tissue. My research aims to develop therapies to target this secondary injury in animal models of stroke. We are developing automated systems to assess various strategies for stroke recovery. Our current setup consists of a high-tech home cage housing up to 10 mice. The cage has several modules for automated functional brain imaging, animal weighing, reward-based learning, and robot-assisted motor recovery.