Centre for Rehabilitation and Engineering Studies (CREST)
University of Newcastle upon Tyne

Vacancy for a Postgraduate Student in Biomechanics and Rehabilitation

The Centre
The Centre for Rehabilitation and Engineering Studies (CREST), at the
University of Newcastle, is an interdisciplinary research group
concerned with the application of technology to rehabilitation with a
particular interest in neurological disability. Its main activities
are centred on the biomechanics of upper limb function and the
biomechanical measurement of upper limb impairment. The current
research programme is supported by the European Union, Action
Research, EPSRC and Industry. There are currently 6 staff and
students involved in the biomechanics activities of the Centre. The
Centre is based on two sites - the biomechanics is in the Stephenson
Building (part of Department of Mechanical, Materials and
Manufacturing Engineering) and the clinical activity is at Hunters
Moor Hospital (15 minutes walk away). Hunters Moor houses the
Regional Centre for Neurological Rehabilitation. There are also
close research links with the Stroke Rehabilitation Unit at North
Tyneside Hospital.

The Project
Spasticity is a neurological disorder that occurs in people who have
suffered an injury to the central nervous system due to stroke, head
injury or in cerebral palsy. The development of spasticity can limit
motor and functional recovery, cause pain and is associated with the
formation of contractures. Advances in drug technology and
pharmaceutical therapy have resulted in many new, often expensive,
treatment protocols to treat these people. However, despite decades
of research, the efficacy of these treatment regimes has been
assessed only using relatively subjective approaches. Based on the
definition of spasticity as a rate dependent increase in tone during
passive stretching, one approach to measuring this condition is to
determine the changes in resistance to passive movement about a joint
(e.g. the elbow). This approach is currently being studied within a
project funded by Action Research. This work involves the analysis
of the moment applied about the elbow joint during passive extension.
Preliminary results show that the system (and testing protocol)
developed within this project, is capable of measuring changes in the
resistance to passive motion in people who have suffered an injury to
the central nervous system. As an extension to this project, we have
been successful in obtaining funds to support a postgraduate student
to carry out further investigation of this topic. In particular, we
wish to develop a biomechanical model of the elbow joint and to carry
out EMG studies which will allow us to investigate the behaviour of
the reflex system during these tests. While the student will be based
in the Stephenson Building of the University, clinical work will be
based at Hunters Moor Hospital and North Tyneside Hospital.

The successful applicant will have a good honours first degree in a
relevant engineering or science discipline and preferably some
experience of bioengineering. The studentship will be funded at the
rate payable to CASE studentships.

For further information contact:
Professor Garth R Johnson, Co-Director, Centre for Rehabilitation
and Engineering Studies (CREST), University of Newcastle, Newcastle
upon Tyne NE1 7RU.
tel: 0191-222-6196
fax 0191-222-8600
email g.r.johnson@ncl.ac.uk
Dr. Anand.D.Pandyan
Centre for Rehab. Eng. Studies
M25-Stephenson Bldg
University of Newcastle
Newcastle Upon Tyne
UK - NE1 7RU

Tel ++ 44 (0)191 - 222 5434
Fax ++ 44 (0)191 - 222 8600
e-mail A.D.Pandyan@ncl.ac.uk

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