Brendon Haslam has been a NOI faculty member for a few years now. He was the driving force behind the development of the Pain, Plasticity and Rehabilitation course, and also teaches the Graded Motor Imagery course. Brendon has launched into an important PhD investigating pain after stroke, and we asked him to write a bit about himself and his research:
My involvement with the NOI group began in my search for further knowledge, so, like many before me, I attended an “Explain Pain” course. This sparked further interest and further courses looking into the possible role that strategies like “Graded Motor Imagery” could play in the management of complex patients with multiple problems. This then started me thinking about the stroke population, where mirror therapy had started to become a bit trendy, but lacked a real structure in how it was being applied.
At present, while mainly being a clinican in private practice and hospital rehabilitation, I’m also currently undertaking a PhD – investigating contributions, and possible processing involved, in upper limb pain in the post-stroke population. This craziness has been driven by my frustration at the lack of effective treatment interventions for this group (and indeed many others). While there is heaps of literature out there telling us how much of a problem pain is in this population, there is hardly anything out there telling us what we can do about it, and medications just don’t seem to work adequately, with worsening NNTs over time.
In pulling together a PhD advisory team, I have been truly blessed to have some real heavies in the pain and neuroscience world come on board, and we have put together a project we’re really excited about. We’ll be calling for your help very soon, but just wanted to get you thinking about it for now. It will all be done online through the noigroup website, and will require participation from people who have not had a stroke (for our controls) and those that have had, whether they have pain or not. We’ll combine the classic Recognise™ program (with a few twists) with some questionnaires that let us explore the sensory profile of participants and their symptoms (if they have any). From this, we hope to look at the possible effect of image recognition in these groups, along with altered sensation and more. We’ve deliberately designed it to complement some ongoing medication studies that are being carried out elsewhere, along with some concurrent studies that we are doing in Melbourne at present that are using imaging to look at neural networks involved in the stroke population.
Can you do anything to help? Not yet! But a call will go out very soon, and it would be great if you can help us rack up some big numbers to really have some research power for this group.
Brendon will be teaching Graded Motor Imagery, along with Martina Egan-Moog, in Geelong, Australia on 18 and 19 April 2015. Details and registration form are available here.