As part of a plan to facilitate growth in neuro physio research, the Perron Institute Clinic has supported research opportunities recently for two Curtin University Physiotherapy Honours students.  

Senior Physiotherapist Claire Tucak (Perron Institute and Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital Physiotherapy Department), has worked with Leanne Cormack (Senior Physiotherapist SCGH) and the Neuro Physio team at SCGH to develop the initiative. 

Assessment of balance, balance confidence, gait and quality of life measures in people with above-knee amputation was the subject of a study conducted by one of the students, Andrea Becker.  

This involved a comparison between participants fitted with an osseointegrated prosthesis and those with a conventional socket prosthesis. The aim was to determine the feasibility of conducting a longitudinal cohort study at SCGH on this topic.  

It is hoped the collection of data in this cohort will assist in the future development of rehabilitation protocols, falls prevention strategies and realistic goal setting to enhance mobility and improve quality of life.  

SCGH Physiotherapists Beck Hefferon (Senior Physio Amputee Rehab) and Pip Pineaar (A/Senior Physio Medical Assessment Unit) co-supervised this project with Claire Tucak, overseen by Dr Meg Harrold and Dr Robyn Fary from Curtin University. 

Physiotherapy Honours student Nanako Tateishi undertook a project titled “Efficacy of foot mobilisation/preparation on balance responses in healthy young adults”. 

Foot mobilisation to improve postural control by enhancing somatosensory information from the foot is often used for patients with neurological disorders but the study of immediate effects has been limited.  

The study aimed to investigate the efficacy of foot mobilisation based on the Bobath concept on balance responses in healthy adults (sensitivity to change), and the validity of the Sway Medical app against the SMART EquiTest balance system. 

This project was co-supervised by Leanne Cormack, Claire Tucak and Dr Fary (Curtin University), and several Perron Institute staff, students and researchers also took part.  

The Curtin University Honours students conducted their projects using the Perron Institute Clinic’s SMART EquiTest Balance Manager machine.  

“Working closely with the SCGH Neuro Physio team in collaboration with Curtin University, the plan is to continue to encourage and facilitate neuro physio clinical research projects,” Claire said. 

Photo caption L-R: (back) Claire Tucak, Nanako Tateishi, Andrea Becker, Beck Hefferon, (front) Leanne Cormack, Pip Pienaar.