PhD Research Opportunity with Queensland Cerebral Palsy Research Centre: Active Strides CP
Active Strides CP: Intensive rehabilitation for children with moderate to severe cerebral palsy to improve gross motor function, habitual physical activity and participation in physically active leisure
One fully-funded PhD research opportunity exists in the areas of physiotherapy or exercise physiology/science, focusing on motor, physical activity and fitness outcomes of children with bilateral cerebral palsy, based at the Queensland Cerebral Palsy Research Centre, at the Child Health Research Centre, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia—one of Australia’s most research-intensive academic institutions and consistently included in the world’s top 50 universities across several independent major rankings. Potential candidates will have a strong interest in research in motor-learning based physical interventions, physical fitness and/or physical activity, along with a First-Class Honours Degree in Physiotherapy, exercise physiology/science.
This single-blind multi-site randomised controlled trial (NHMRC funded) will investigate whether school-age children with moderate to severe CP (Gross Motor Function Classification System GMFCS III and IV) who are randomised to an eight-week Active Strides-CP intervention, compared with care as usual, have improved gross motor function immediately post intervention. Secondary outcomes will be changes in Habitual Physical Activity ([HPA], less time spent sedentary, increased light and/or moderate to vigorous physical activity MVPA), cardiorespiratory fitness (Physiological Cost index HR/PCI), walking speed and distance, frequency/involvement of community participation, daily activities and mobility performance, attainment of gross motor goals, healthcare use and quality of life immediately post intervention and with retention of outcomes 6 months post baseline. Active Strides-CP comprises a package of rehabilitation of Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) cycling, adapted cycling, partial body weight support treadmill training (PBWSTT), overground gait training and goal directed training with a total dose of direct therapy of 32 hours delivered over an eight-week period.
Within this large multi-site trial, there will be scope to develop a research program around the following top areas.
- Participant and intervention (e.g. dose and content) related factors associated with clinically significant improvements in gross motor function, habitual physical activity and participation in physically active leisure
- Fidelity of delivery of a manualized ACTIVE-STRIDES CP program across multiple sites and organisations.
- The relationship between capacity, participation, fitness and habitual physical activity in children with cerebral palsy