Brooks Clinical Research Scientist is Awarded $1.2 mil VA Grant for Novel Backward Walking Study Post-Stroke

Clinical Expertise

Oct 21, 2021

Dr. Dorian Rose, Clinical Research Scientist of the Brooks/UF-PHHP Research Collaboration, was recently awarded a $1.2 million grant, funded by the VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Service. The four year project, “Brain Responses after Variable Exercise” – or in short – the “BRAVE” Study, will continue Dr. Rose’s work on a novel backward walking intervention post-stroke.

Up to 75-80 percent of individuals fall at least one time after experiencing a stroke. Within a six-month period, almost half of them fall multiple times. Falls can occur quite frequently and easily after a stroke, especially when taking a step in the sideways or backwards direction. When someone has a stroke, not only can they have difficulty taking steps forward, but they often have greater difficulty taking a sufficiently large step backwards needed to open a door or refrigerator, for example, and maintain their balance.

The BRAVE Study will be the fourth study over a 10 year research trajectory examining the effects of backward walking training after stroke. It will compare two different doses of backward walking training for maximizing gains in forward and backward walking speed and dynamic balance in individuals post-stroke. Researchers will also assess brain activity via magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at the University of Florida, before and after training interventions, to determine if structural and functional brain measurements can predict degree of response to backward walking training. The study will be conducted at the Brooks Clinical Research Center in Jacksonville, FL and the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center in Gainesville, FL. Recruitment is projected to begin fall of 2021.

In addition to her role as a Research Scientist at Brooks, Dr. Rose is a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Florida, and a Research Health Scientist at the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center. Her interests as a researcher, clinician, and educator are in adult neurorehabilitation. Specifically, she studies intervention strategies based on principles of neuroplasticity and motor learning for the rehabilitation of motor control deficits of the upper extremity and gait, as well as respiratory health. Her research portfolio also explores post-rehabilitation community ambulation in stroke survivors to understand the contributors to one’s walking duration and extent once home in the community following rehabilitation discharge. Dr. Rose’s research also focuses on exploring opportunities for individuals to live long-term healthy lifestyles in the presence of disability.

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