Areas of Expertise
Research and treatment in the area of mobility and activity crosses many areas of health and encompasses various diseases and conditions. Through its research arm, Lawson Health Research Institute and formal partnership with Western University and its scientists, The Gray Centre is a leader in health-related investigation and innovations in the following key areas.
Acquired and Traumatic Brain Injury
Acquired or traumatic brain injuries can have profound consequences on mobility. These injuries can decrease a person’s motivation to be physically active, impair a person’s balance, cause muscle spasticity or weakness, or make it difficult to coordinate whole body movements. Our Mobility Experts at The Gray Centre are trying to understand how specific brain injuries impact mobility, how to quickly identify patients who may have atypically persistent long-term symptoms, and how to best treat mobility dysfunction following traumatic brain injuries.
Our experts in ABI include:
The partial or complete loss of a limb frequently leads to mobility challenges. Dexterity and balance are often compromised, new gait patterns might need to be learned and activities of daily living become difficult. Amputation may also result in other health issues causing a psychological toll on the individual that can decrease mobility and activity levels. Our Mobility Experts at The Gray Centre are helping those with an amputation overcome these challenges by testing ways of optimizing safe prosthetic usage, devising novel ways to be independent in the home and community and by better understanding how limb loss impacts cognitive function.
Our experts in amputation include:
Balance, Gait and Falls
Balance and gait dysfunction increase the risk of falls, which can often result in serious injury. Up to 33% of older adults over the age of 70 will experience a fall each year and is this age cohort’s leading cause of hospitalization and institutionalization. Prevention of falls is paramount and the diagnoses and treatment of balance and gait problems often requires a specialized, multi-disciplinary approach. Our Mobility Experts at The Gray Centre are involved in multiple clinical trials that aim to identify novel ways to treat and rehabilitate conditions which lead to gait and balance problems. Through evaluating patients with mobility problems we can provide cutting edge, individually tailored programs that aim to prevent falls and their associated disabilities and injuries.
Our experts in balance, gait and falls include:
Childhood Onset Conditions
Being born with, or developing, a physical disability in early childhood can have a significant impact on mobility throughout the lifespan. Conditions like cerebral palsy and spina bifida can result in a wide spectrum of challenges with movement, gait and balance, which can in turn lead to a variety of consequences including fatigue and pain. Limitations in engagement in typical community fitness and recreation programming are unfortunately common, and these challenges are amplified when people outgrow the pediatric system and transition to adult medical and social services. Our Mobility Experts at The Gray Centre are working to better understand the needs of adults with childhood onset physical disabilities and to develop appropriate assessments and interventions to maximize physical function, mental health and quality of life.
Our experts in childhood onset conditions include:
Chronic pain can frequently impair a person’s mobility, function and quality of life. Multiple rehabilitation populations, including those with stroke, brain injury spinal cord injury, amputations, and other musculoskeletal issues, suffer significant chronic pain as a result of their underlying condition. Our Mobility Experts at the Gray Centre are involved in clinical trials of therapeutic interventions for those with chronic pain, understanding the factors that impact chronic pain development and progression, and exploring the unique chronic pain management issues that apply to specialized rehabilitation populations.
Our experts in chronic pain include:
Implementation Science and Education
New discoveries and knowledge must be shared or used to make an impact. This simple fact has traditionally been a challenge in health care, which is often reflected in a wide gap in time between the initial discovery of new treatment options and when these options get implemented into clinical practice. Our Mobility Experts at The Gray Centre are narrowing this gap by educating our current and future clinicians on the most up to date mobility rehabilitation and preventative practices, and by developing new and effective ways of providing treatment information to our patients and their families.
Our experts in implementation science and education:
Mobility and Brain Health
There is a direct link between mobility, cognition and brain health. Physical activity has therapeutic effects for treating brain and mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression, and diagnosing specific forms of dementia can be aided by carefully assessing a person’s mobility capabilities. Our Mobility Experts at The Gray Centre are trying to better understand the link between mobility, cognition and brain health by testing what mobility interventions lead to the most positive brain and mental health outcomes and by leveraging new methods of assessing mobility to help diagnose brain health and cognitive dysfunction.
Our experts in mobility and brain health include:
The neuromuscular system is made up of the muscles that move the body and the nerves these muscles are connected to. Damage or disease can compromise the function of the neuromuscular system, resulting in devastating impacts on mobility. Our Mobility Experts at The Gray Centre are working to understand how to preserve function of the neuromuscular system in the face of disease and the natural aging process and developing novel surgical procedures to repair damage to peripheral nerves following trauma.
Our experts in neuromuscular dysfunction include:
Spinal Cord Injury
The spinal cord is a critical neural highway of the body, transmitting signals from the brain to the muscles that enable movement. Injuries to the spinal cord, through trauma or disease, disrupt the transmission of these signals resulting in the partial or complete inability to generate normal movement. Our Mobility Experts at The Gray Centre are testing novel therapeutic approaches to maximize the recovery from a spinal cord injury and developing unique strategies for adapting and modifying a patient's environment to help complete activities of daily living.
Our experts in spinal cord injury include:
A stroke is caused when blood to the brain is reduced or blocked, depriving cells of the oxygen and nutrients they need to function and survive. There can be a wide range of effects on a person’s mobility if the affected cells are normally involved in producing movement. Our Mobility Experts at The Gray Centre are involved in clinical trials testing new therapeutic interventions for stroke patients, testing how the damaged and spared brain areas respond to different types of treatments, and are responsible for the most comprehensive synthesis of stroke rehabilitation research in the world.
Our experts in stroke include: