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research Exercise aids recovery E xercise is an important part of recovery for people with brain injury, University of Queensland researchers have found. A review from the University’s School of Health Mackay said the review discovered that exercise could positively affect BDNR in people with brain conditions. “Increasing BDNR may contribute to the ability of brain cells to grow, change and rejuvenate, and a program of aerobic exercise may increase levels of BDNF in people with a neurological disorder,” Mr Mackay said. and Rehabilitation Sciences “People who have had uncovered the benefit of brain injuries have potential to exercise on a protein involved harness neuroplasticity – the in brain reorganisation ability of the brain cells to and relearning following grow, change and rejuvenate – a neurological disorder, to help their recovery of motor such as after a stroke. Brain performance.” derived neurotrophic factor He said including regular (BDNF) proteins, found in the aerobic exercise as a peripheral and central nervous component of rehabilitation systems, play an important may lead to improvements in role in brain development, walking, functional ability and plasticity and survival. improved motor performance. PhD candidate Christopher evidence that rehabilitation makes Christopher Mackay walking with a research participant. A leading policy expert from a difference at every stage, from Canada told the symposium how the acute intensive care unit access to services had significantly environment for critical spinal injury declined over the past few decades. patients to prevent respiratory Professor Mary-Ann McColl failure, through to vocational (pictured right) said her experience programs to get people with spinal over 35 years had shown that the injuries back to work earlier. proportions of people accessing In 2017, the World Health appropriate rehabilitation has Organisation (WHO) demanded decreased, even though the action to lift rehabilitation prevalence of health conditions services globally. The WHO has associated with disability has endorsed a 2030 Call for Action on increased by nearly 23 per cent rehabilitation, describing the unmet since 2005. need worldwide as ‘profound’. research 49