My research focuses on exercise rehabilitation in special populations, specifically in the elderly, people with spinal cord injuries and people with multiple sclerosis. By following the basic principles of exercise physiology together with sophisticated training equipment for people with limited mobility, we explore the myriad benefits (both physiological and psychological) of increased physical fitness in people with various neuromuscular impairments. Using techniques such as muscle biopsies, ultrasound imaging, EMG and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) we have the ability to understand the mechanisms underlying exercise-induced improvements in strength or function. Our research takes place primarily in the Centre for Health Promotion and Rehabilitation at McMaster, a state-of-the-art fitness center with the widest variety of specialized exercise training equipment for people in wheelchairs in the province, including hybrid cycle ergometers and steppers for whole-body exercise, two body-weight support treadmills and a robotic gait orthosis. Collaborations with Drs. Rathbone and Jiang in the Neurorestorative Group have greatly expanded our potential to translate knowledge gained in the animal laboratory to the human model.
Exercise rehabilitation, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, health benefits, muscle physiology