Announcement of Successful 2012 Seeding Grant Applications

PRF seeding grants are for new researchers working on new or established clinical research projects. The purpose of PRF seeding grants is to help new researchers begin a research career.

All applications are subjected to a thorough assessment process by the PRF Grants Review Committee to ensure that PRF seeding grants are awarded to the most worthy studies each year.

The Directors of the PRF Corporate Trustee are now pleased to announce that the following APA members have been awarded seeding grants for the 2012 funding round:

Is there a difference in scapular kinematics between healthy controls and people with chronic mechanical neck pain?

Yaheli Bet-Or (QLD)

Control of scapular posture and motion (kinematics) is dependent on the extensive muscular attachment to the spine and ribs.

Changes in scapular kinematics and/or premature fatigue of the axio-scapular muscles, may contribute to the initiation and perpetuation of chronic mechanical neck pain (CMNP) disorders. To date there has been limited research investigating the relationship between scapular kinematics and CMNP. This research aims to investigate if a difference exists in scapular kinematics between healthy controls and people with CMNP.

This study will use 3D motion analysis technology (Vicon) to compare scapular kinematics under different arm load (static and dynamic) conditions in healthy controls (n=40) and people with CMNP (n=40). This study will help bridge the knowledge gap in research and practice to better understand patients with CMNP allowing more specific intervention and rehabilitation programs to be applied. The results of this study will underpin a subsequent larger study investigating subgrouping of people with neck pain based on scapular involvement.

Amount awarded: $6,834

Embracing technology in physiotherapy practice: can the Wii Balance Board™ and Microsoft Kinect™ provide clinically useful information about balance performance post-stroke?

Kelly Bower (VIC)

This project will investigate whether the Wii Balance Board™ (WBB), a force platform, and Microsoft Kinect™ (MK), a markerless motion analysis camera, can provide reliable and useful information for evaluating balance performance following stroke.

The Functional Reach test, a commonly employed clinical balance test, and the Forward Limits of Stability test will be assessed in a clinical rehabilitation setting on two occasions, one week apart in thirty post-stroke individuals. The WBB and MK, previously validated for balance assessment in young healthy individuals, will be used to collect kinetic and kinematic data respectively during these tests. Between-session reliability (reach distance, anterior centre of pressure displacement, trunk angle, hip centre displacement and ankle angle) will be evaluated, and these data will be analysed to identify movement strategies employed during balance testing.

We hypothesise that the WBB and MK, used with custom-written software, will be reliable and capable of providing valuable information to identify and measure movement strategies in a clinical setting. These low-cost and accessible tools have the potential to enhance balance and mobility assessment in clinical practice and research across a range of conditions.

Amount awarded: $8,548

Does exercise following distal radius fracture improve activity? A Phase I/II randomised controlled trial

Andrea Bruder (VIC)

Distal radial fractures (DRF) are one of the most common upper limb fractures, representing 17% of fractures presenting in emergency rooms.

After DRF, people often experience difficulty completing everyday functional tasks due to loss of strength and range of movement.Exercise is a common intervention, prescribed to at least 90% of patients receiving rehabilitation following a DRF; however a program of exercise has never been evaluated in a controlled trial with many trials including exercise in both experimental and comparison groups. The aim of this study is to investigate if people following DRF recover better if they receive a progressive exercise program. This will be the first randomised controlled clinical trial to find out if a progressive exercise program delivered by physiotherapists can improve activity, and decrease impairment following DRF.

If successful, this trial will impact on clinical practice by providing evidence to clinicians about the effectiveness of prescribing a progressive exercise program. This trial will provide phase I/II data that will inform the development of a larger trial that will investigate the long term.

Amount awarded: $10,000