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Neuro-rehabilitation research

Neuro-rehabilitation researchers

The research unit started by Åke Seiger and has more than 20 years of continuous activity at Karolinska Institutet and the Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society (NVS). It is now co-directed by Åke Seiger and Kerstin Wahman. Also Claes Hulting is part of the unit.

The research has its clinical base at Rehab Station Stockholm, Sweden's largest neuro-rehab facility, and located in Frösundavik, a subsidiary of Praktikertjänst Inc, (http://www.rehabstation.se/Rehabilitering/Forskning/).

Research focus

Research is spanning from Quality of Life perspectives, to epidemiological surveys and clinical treatment interventions. The research is person-centered and aims at improving rehabilitation, life conditions and functional restoration for a number of patient groups. Albeit with a focus on spinal cord injury, diagnose groups such as brain injury and MS are also under scrutiny.

More than 10 Ph.D. students has defended their theses from the research unit since its start and it presently has 6 registered Ph.D. students and 4 Post-doctoral fellows.

An extensive network of collaborators within KI and elsewhere add to the team efforts. (see below).

Group members

Åke SeigerÅke Seiger. Senior professor, 50 years of spinal cord and brain injury research. Both clinical and basic research activities. Chairman for the Competence Center for Spinal Cord Injury Foundation (KCRS). Presently supervising 3 of the graduate students.

Kerstin WahmanKerstin Wahman. PT, Ph.D. Adjunct clinical adjunct at NVS (AKA). Thesis 2010. Main supervisor for one of the graduate students. Head of R & D- unit at Rehab Station.

Claes HultlingClaes Hultling. M.D. Ph.D. docent, Adjunct Senior Lecturer, NVS, CEO Spinalis Foundation, Director the Competence Center for Spinal Cord Injury Foundation (KCRS). Presently supervising 3 of the graduate students.

Ph.D. students.

Tobias Holmlund. PT, Half-time 2017. Projected dissertation 2019. Main supervisor: Wahman. Subject: Energy consumption after spinal cord injury, basic metabolic rate and physical activity. Clinical employment at Rehab Station.

Elisabeth Farrelly. M.D., urology specialist. Half-time 2017. Projected dissertation 2019. Main supervisor: Seiger. Subject: Survey of urological function and disturbancies in persons with aquired spinal cord injury. Clinical employment at Södersjukhuset.

Lisa Holmlund. OT, Half-time 2016. Projected dissertation march 2019. Main supervisor: Eric Asaba. Subject: Prerequisites for return-to-work after spinal cord injury. Clinical employment at Rehab Station.

Martina Bendt. PT, Half-time projected for 2019. Main supervisor: Erika Franzén. Subject: Physical and cognitive aspects of function in adults with Spina Bifida. Clinical employment at Rehab Station.

Hanna Gabrielsson, RN. Half-time 2018 at Örebro University. Main supervisor: Mats Eriksson. Subject: Health and living conditions in adults with Spina Bifida. Research a Rehab Station. Employment at Ersta-Sköndahl Univ. College as teacher/researcher.

Mia Forslin. PT. Half-time 2016. Projected dissertation march 2019. Main supervisor : Sverker Johansson. Subject: Working life in people with muliple sclerosis. Clinical employment at Rehab Station.

Ph.D. Researchers and post-docs active in the group.

Inka Löfenmark. PT. Ph.D. 2016 at NVS. Main supervisor Hultling. Ph.D. subject: Spinal cord injury in Botswana. Current interests: International implementation of care pathways. Clinical employment at Rehab Station.

Emelie Butler Forslund. PT. Ph.D. 2017 at NVS. Main supervisor Wahman. Ph.D. project: Falls in wheel chair users with spinal cord injury. Current interests: Implementation of fall prevention programs and mobility in the target group. Clinical employment at Rehab Station.

Conran Joseph. PT. Ph.D. 2017 at NVS. Main supervisor Lena Nilsson Wikmar. Ph.D. subject: Traumatic spinal cord injury in South Africa and Sweden. Current interests: Parkinsons Disease and care pathways for spinal cord injury persons. Employment as post-doc. with Erika Franzèn, NVS.

Marika Augutis. PT. Ph.D. 2007 at NVS. Main supervisor Richard Levi. Ph.D. subject: Pediatric spinal cord injury. Current interests: Standardizing care pathways for young individuals with acquired spinal cord injury. Employment as Head of R/D in Sundsvall.

Major research projects outside of Ph.D programs.

1. Lifestyle based cardiovascular disease prevention after Spinal Cord Injury

The project embraces a wide national and international collaboration with GIH The Swedish School of sport and health sciences, Sunnaas Rehab Hospital, Oslo, a research group in Rotterdam Holland with the research group for “Fitness in chronic conditions”, and Umeå University. Based on Wahmans Thesis from 2010 this project has produced one Ph.D. Thesis (Flank 2017). Aim: To analyse contributing factors for illness and develop preventive clinical programs for the target group. Co-PI: Wahman.

2. International epidemiological study of spinal cord injury.

Collaboration with Cape Town University , South Africa. Start 2012, produced one Ph.D. Thesis at KI (Joseph 2016). Aims at standardising care chains for the target group by joint data collections and international outcome variables. PI : Wahman.

3. Urological survey in adults with Spina Bifida.

Based on a near-total prevalence study in Stockholm. Start 2014. Aims at evaluating problems, means of treatment and cognitive challenges life-long. PIs : Seiger and Ingrid Ehrèn, docent, Clintec, KI.

4. Falls and spinal cord injury.

Collaboration with Sunnaas Rehab Hospital, Oslo. Start 2012, produced two Ph.D Theses at KI (Jörgensen 2016 and Butler Forslund 2017).Aims at fall preventive programs for the target group in Scandinavia. PIs : Wahman and Skavberg Roaldsen at NVS.

5. Evaluation of the Bip-Foley suprapubic catheter in spinal cord injury persons.

Effects on urinary tract infections. Clinical trial with Bactiguard Inc as sponsor. Start 2016. PI: Seiger

6. Pan European Pediatric Spinal Cord Injury collaboration (PEPSCI).

Collaboration between 12 European countries and several US hospitals. Aim: To coordinate state of the art care and follow-up fpr the target group. Swedish Co-PIs : Wahman and Augutis.

7. Collaboration with Theme Neuro, Karolinska Univ. Hospital. Sponsor: Bioarctic Inc. Aim: Restore neurological function after spinal cord injury by a combination of surgically inserting a prosthesis and intense training. PI.: Svensson Professor Clinical Neuroscience. Collaborator: Hultling.