Link October 2018 Volume 27 Issue 5 - Page 62

research Dr Dinesh Palipana with Professor David Lloyd (left) and Dr Claudio Pizzolato (right). “These are then personalised to the patient, so that they can then electrically stimulate the muscles to make the patient and bike move. It’s all in real time, with the model adjusting the amount of stimulation required as the patient starts to recover. “We’re in the early stages of research and we’re having to Thought control Gold Coast University Hospital junior doctor and Griffith University medical graduate Dinesh Palipana is taking part in research which uses a ‘thought control’ approach to spinal cord injury rehabilitation. T however we know we have shown our real-time personalised model works, basically like a digital twin of the patient.” Dr Palipana is excited to be part of the research in his own backyard. “We’ve had equipment for many years where people passively he novel research involves car accident part-way through his exercise using stationary bikes, and Dr Palipana thinking about medical degree. stationary methods where people pushing the pedals of a Griffith University Professor David get on and the equipment moves specially adapted recline bike, Lloyd, Dr Claudio Pizzolato and his their legs for them. The problem is and thanks to electronic muscle team, together with Dinesh as both you really need some stimulation stimulation, he’s actually moving, researcher and research subject, from the brain,” he said. in what is the first step towards an are aiming to use their ground- integrated neuro-musculoskeletal breaking 3D computer-stimulated to realise that the whole nervous rehabilitation program being biomechanical model, connected system is very plastic and it has to be developed at the Gold Coast Health to an electroencephalogram (EEG) trained, so actually thinking about and Knowledge Precinct. to capture Dinesh’s brainwaves, to moving the bike or doing an activity stimulate movement, and eventually stimulates the spinal cord from the recovery. top down and that creates change.” Dr Palipana – who featured on the front cover of Link magazine in December 2017 – is enthusiastic Professor Lloyd said the idea is that “As the years go by we’re starting This top down, bottom up about being the ‘guinea pig’ for the a spinal injury or neurological patient approach is innovative, with the research. can think about riding the bike. model effectively providing a “I have a selfish and vested 62 improvise with our equipment, “This generates neural patterns, substitute connection between the interest in spinal cord injury research and the biomechanical model sits limbs and the brain where it was and I’m completely happy to be in the middle to generate control of previously broken when the spinal the guinea pig,” said Dr Palipana, the patient’s personalised muscle cord was injured. who became a quadriplegic after a activation patterns,” Prof Lloyd said. research