Imperial College London

Mr Karl (Gus) Zimmerman

Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Brain Sciences

Research Technician



karl.zimmerman11 Website




Burlington DanesHammersmith Campus





Publication Type

17 results found

Graham NSN, Zimmerman KA, Moro F, Heslegrave A, Maillard SA, Bernini A, Miroz J-P, Donat CK, Lopez MY, Bourke N, Jolly AE, Mallas E-J, Soreq E, Wilson MH, Fatania G, Roi D, Patel MC, Garbero E, Nattino G, Baciu C, Fainardi E, Chieregato A, Gradisek P, Magnoni S, Oddo M, Zetterberg H, Bertolini G, Sharp DJet al., 2021, Axonal marker neurofilament light predicts long-term outcomes and progressive neurodegeneration after traumatic brain injury, Science Translational Medicine, Vol: 13, Pages: 1-15, ISSN: 1946-6234

Axonal injury is a key determinant of long-term outcomes after traumatic brain injury (TBI) but has been difficult to measure clinically. Fluid biomarker assays can now sensitively quantify neuronal proteins in blood. Axonal components such as neurofilament light (NfL) potentially provide a diagnostic measure of injury. In the multicenter BIO-AX-TBI study of moderate-severe TBI, we investigated relationships between fluid biomarkers, advanced neuroimaging, and clinical outcomes. Cerebral microdialysis was used to assess biomarker concentrations in brain extracellular fluid aligned with plasma measurement. An experimental injury model was used to validate biomarkers against histopathology. Plasma NfL increased after TBI, peaking at 10 days to 6 weeks but remaining abnormal at 1 year. Concentrations were around 10 times higher early after TBI than in controls (patients with extracranial injuries). NfL concentrations correlated with diffusion MRI measures of axonal injury and predicted white matter neurodegeneration. Plasma TAU predicted early gray matter atrophy. NfL was the strongest predictor of functional outcomes at 1 year. Cerebral microdialysis showed that NfL concentrations in plasma and brain extracellular fluid were highly correlated. An experimental injury model confirmed a dose-response relationship of histopathologically defined axonal injury to plasma NfL. In conclusion, plasma NfL provides a sensitive and clinically meaningful measure of axonal injury produced by TBI. This reflects the extent of underlying damage, validated using advanced MRI, cerebral microdialysis, and an experimental model. The results support the incorporation of NfL sampling subacutely after injury into clinical practice to assist with the diagnosis of axonal injury and to improve prognostication.

Journal article

Kurtin DL, Violante IR, Zimmerman K, Leech R, Hampshire A, Patel MC, Carmichael DW, Sharp DJ, Li LMet al., 2021, Investigating the interaction between white matter and brain state on tDCS-induced changes in brain network activity, Brain Stimulation, Vol: 14, Pages: 1261-1270, ISSN: 1876-4754

BACKGROUND: Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a form of noninvasive brain stimulation whose potential as a cognitive therapy is hindered by our limited understanding of how participant and experimental factors influence its effects. Using functional MRI to study brain networks, we have previously shown in healthy controls that the physiological effects of tDCS are strongly influenced by brain state. We have additionally shown, in both healthy and traumatic brain injury (TBI) populations, that the behavioral effects of tDCS are positively correlated with white matter (WM) structure. OBJECTIVES: In this study we investigate how these two factors, WM structure and brain state, interact to shape the effect of tDCS on brain network activity. METHODS: We applied anodal, cathodal and sham tDCS to the right inferior frontal gyrus (rIFG) of healthy (n = 22) and TBI participants (n = 34). We used the Choice Reaction Task (CRT) performance to manipulate brain state during tDCS. We acquired simultaneous fMRI to assess activity of cognitive brain networks and used Fractional Anisotropy (FA) as a measure of WM structure. RESULTS: We find that the effects of tDCS on brain network activity in TBI participants are highly dependent on brain state, replicating findings from our previous healthy control study in a separate, patient cohort. We then show that WM structure further modulates the brain-state dependent effects of tDCS on brain network activity. These effects are not unidirectional - in the absence of task with anodal and cathodal tDCS, FA is positively correlated with brain activity in several regions of the default mode network. Conversely, with cathodal tDCS during CRT performance, FA is negatively correlated with brain activity in a salience network region. CONCLUSIONS: Our results show that experimental and participant factors interact to have unexpected effects on brain network activity, and that these effects are not fully predictable by studying the fa

Journal article

Zimmerman K, Laverse E, Samra R, Yanez Lopez M, Jolly AE, Bourke NJ, Graham N, Patel MC, Hardy J, Kemp S, Morris HR, Sharp Det al., 2021, White matter abnormalities in active elite adult rugby players, Brain Communications, Vol: 3, Pages: 1-19, ISSN: 2632-1297

The recognition, diagnosis and management of mild traumatic brain injuries is difficult and confusing. It is unclear how the severity and number of injuries sustained relate to brain injuries such as diffuse axonal injury, diffuse vascular injury and progressive neurodegeneration. Advances in neuroimaging techniques enable the investigation of neuropathologies associated with acute and long-term effects of injury. Head injuries are the most commonly reported injury seen during professional rugby. There is increased vigilance for the immediate effects of these injuries in matches, but there has been surprisingly little research investigating the longer-term effects of rugby participation.Here we present a longitudinal observational study investigating the relationship of exposure to rugby participation and sub-acute head injuries in professional adult male and female rugby union and league players using advanced MRI. Diffusion tensor imaging and susceptibility weighted imaging was used to assess white matter structure and evidence of axonal and diffuse vascular injury. We also studied changes in brain structure over time using Jacobian Determinant statistics extracted from serial volumetric imaging. We tested 41 male and 3 female adult elite rugby players, of whom 21 attended study visits after a head injury, alongside 32 non-sporting controls, 15 non-collision-sport athletic controls and 16 longitudinally assessed controls. 18 rugby players participated in the longitudinal arm of the study, with a second visit at least 6 months after their first scan.Neuroimaging evidence of either axonal injury or diffuse vascular injury was present in 23% (10/44) of players. In the non-acutely injured group of rugby players, abnormalities of fractional anisotropy and other diffusion measures were seen. In contrast, non-collision-sport athletic controls were not classified as showing abnormalities. A group level contrast also showed evidence of sub-acute injury using diffusion te

Journal article

Li LM, Bourke NJ, Lai HHL, May HG, Zimmerman KA, Bell J, Riches E, Abu-Sway S, Sharp DJet al., 2021, Conferences in the time of COVID: notes on organizing and delivering the first Brain Conference, Brain Communications, Vol: 3

<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title> <jats:p>To further fulfil their missions of promoting teaching, education and research in neurology and related clinical-academic disciplines, the Guarantors of Brain and the Brain journal family invited delegates to the first Brain Conference in Spring of this year. This event aimed to deliver excellent teaching and scientific presentations across a broad spectrum of neuroscience fields, with the key aim of making the content as accessible as possible. We hoped to capitalize on the benefits of an online format, whilst trying to capture a little of the joy of the in-person meeting. This article reports on the approach and practical choices made to achieve these goals, and we hope this will provide some guidance and advice to others organizing their own online conference.</jats:p>

Journal article

Abayazid F, Ding K, Zimmerman K, Stigson H, Ghajari Met al., 2021, A new assessment of bicycle helmets: the brain injury mitigation effects of new technologies in oblique impacts, Annals of Biomedical Engineering, ISSN: 0090-6964

New helmet technologies have been developed to improve the mitigation of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in bicycle accidents. However, their effectiveness under oblique impacts, which produce more strains in the brain in comparison with vertical impacts adopted by helmet standards, is still unclear. Here we used a new method to assess the brain injury prevention effects of 27 bicycle helmets in oblique impacts, including helmets fitted with a friction-reducing layer (MIPS), a shearing pad (SPIN), a wavy cellular liner (WaveCel), an airbag helmet (Hövding) and a number of conventional helmets. We tested whether helmets fitted with the new technologies can provide better brain protection than conventional helmets. Each helmeted headform was dropped onto a 45° inclined anvil at 6.3 m/s at three locations, with each impact location producing a dominant head rotation about one anatomical axes of the head. A detailed computational model of TBI was used to determine strain distribution across the brain and in key anatomical regions, the corpus callosum and sulci. Our results show that, in comparison with conventional helmets, the majority of helmets incorporating new technologies significantly reduced peak rotational acceleration and velocity and maximal strain in corpus callosum and sulci. Only one helmet with MIPS significantly increased strain in the corpus collosum. The helmets fitted with MIPS and WaveCel were more effective in reducing strain in impacts producing sagittal rotations and a helmet fitted with SPIN in coronal rotations. The airbag helmet was effective in reducing brain strain in all impacts, however, peak rotational velocity and brain strain heavily depended on the analysis time. These results suggest that incorporating different impact locations in future oblique impact test methods and designing helmet technologies for the mitigation of head rotation in different planes are key to reducing brain injuries in bicycle accidents.

Journal article

Zimmerman K, Kim J, Karton C, Lochhead L, Sharp D, Hoshizaki T, Ghajari Met al., 2021, Player position in American Football influences the magnitude of mechanical strains produced in the location of chronic traumatic encephalopathy pathology: a computational modelling study, Journal of Biomechanics, Vol: 118, ISSN: 0021-9290

American football players are frequently exposed to head impacts, which can cause concussions and may lead to neurodegenerative diseases such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Player position appears to influence the risk of concussion but there is limited work on its effect on the risk of CTE. Computational modelling has shown that large brain deformations during head impacts co-localise with CTE pathology in sulci. Here we test whether player position has an effect on brain deformation within the sulci, a possible biomechanical trigger for CTE. We physically reconstructed 148 head impact events from video footage of American Football games. Players were separated into 3 different position profiles based on the magnitude and frequency of impacts. A detailed finite element model of TBI was then used to predict Green-Lagrange strain and strain rate across the brain and in sulci. Using a one-way ANOVA, we found that in positions where players were exposed to large magnitude and low frequency impacts (e.g. defensive back and wide receiver), strain and strain rate across the brain and in sulci were highest. We also found that rotational head motion is a key determinant in producing large strains and strain rates in the sulci. Our results suggest that player position has a significant effect on impact kinematics, influencing the magnitude of deformations within sulci, which spatially corresponds to where CTE pathology is observed. This work can inform future studies investigating different player-position risks for concussion and CTE and guide design of prevention systems.

Journal article

Jolly AE, Balaet M, Azor A, Friedland D, Sandrone S, Graham NSN, Zimmerman K, Sharp DJet al., 2021, Detecting axonal injury in individual patients after traumatic brain injury., Brain: a journal of neurology, Vol: 144, Pages: 92-113, ISSN: 0006-8950

Poor outcomes after traumatic brain injury (TBI) are common yet remain difficult to predict. Diffuse axonal injury is important for outcomes, but its assessment remains limited in the clinical setting. Currently, axonal injury is diagnosed based on clinical presentation, visible damage to the white matter or via surrogate markers of axonal injury such as microbleeds. These do not accurately quantify axonal injury leading to misdiagnosis in a proportion of patients. Diffusion tensor imaging provides a quantitative measure of axonal injury in vivo, with fractional anisotropy often used as a proxy for white matter damage. Diffusion imaging has been widely used in TBI but is not routinely applied clinically. This is in part because robust analysis methods to diagnose axonal injury at the individual level have not yet been developed. Here, we present a pipeline for diffusion imaging analysis designed to accurately assess the presence of axonal injury in large white matter tracts in individuals. Average fractional anisotropy is calculated from tracts selected on the basis of high test-retest reliability, good anatomical coverage and their association to cognitive and clinical impairments after TBI. We test our pipeline for common methodological issues such as the impact of varying control sample sizes, focal lesions and age-related changes to demonstrate high specificity, sensitivity and test-retest reliability. We assess 92 patients with moderate-severe TBI in the chronic phase (≥6 months post-injury), 25 patients in the subacute phase (10 days to 6 weeks post-injury) with 6-month follow-up and a large control cohort (n = 103). Evidence of axonal injury is identified in 52% of chronic and 28% of subacute patients. Those classified with axonal injury had significantly poorer cognitive and functional outcomes than those without, a difference not seen for focal lesions or microbleeds. Almost a third of patients with unremarkable standard MRIs had evidence o

Journal article

Graham NSN, Jolly A, Zimmerman K, Bourke NJ, Scott G, Cole JH, Schott JM, Sharp DJet al., 2020, Diffuse axonal injury predicts neurodegeneration after moderate-severe traumatic brain injury, Brain: a journal of neurology, Vol: 143, Pages: 3685-3698, ISSN: 0006-8950

Traumatic brain injury is associated with elevated rates of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and chronic traumatic encephalopathy. In experimental models, diffuse axonal injury triggers post-traumatic neurodegeneration, with axonal damage leading to Wallerian degeneration and toxic proteinopathies of amyloid and hyperphosphorylated tau. However, in humans the link between diffuse axonal injury and subsequent neurodegeneration has yet to be established. Here we test the hypothesis that the severity and location of diffuse axonal injury predicts the degree of progressive post-traumatic neurodegeneration. We investigated longitudinal changes in 55 patients in the chronic phase after moderate-severe traumatic brain injury and 19 healthy control subjects. Fractional anisotropy was calculated from diffusion tensor imaging as a measure of diffuse axonal injury. Jacobian determinant atrophy rates were calculated from serial volumetric T1 scans as a measure of measure post-traumatic neurodegeneration. We explored a range of potential predictors of longitudinal post-traumatic neurodegeneration and compared the variance in brain atrophy that they explained. Patients showed widespread evidence of diffuse axonal injury, with reductions of fractional anisotropy at baseline and follow-up in large parts of the white matter. No significant changes in fractional anisotropy over time were observed. In contrast, abnormally high rates of brain atrophy were seen in both the grey and white matter. The location and extent of diffuse axonal injury predicted the degree of brain atrophy: fractional anisotropy predicted progressive atrophy in both whole-brain and voxelwise analyses. The strongest relationships were seen in central white matter tracts, including the body of the corpus callosum, which are most commonly affected by diffuse axonal injury. Diffuse axonal injury predicted substantially more variability in white matter atrophy than other putative clinical or ima

Journal article

Graham NSN, Zimmerman KA, Bertolini G, Magnoni S, Oddo M, Zetterberg H, Moro F, Novelli D, Heslegrave A, Chieregato A, Fainardi E, Fleming JM, Garbero E, Abed-Maillard S, Gradisek P, Bernini A, Sharp DJet al., 2020, Multicentre longitudinal study of fluid and neuroimaging BIOmarkers of AXonal injury after traumatic brain injury: the BIO-AX-TBI study protocol., BMJ Open, Vol: 10, Pages: 1-9, ISSN: 2044-6055

INTRODUCTION AND AIMS: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) often results in persistent disability, due particularly to cognitive impairments. Outcomes remain difficult to predict but appear to relate to axonal injury. Several new approaches involving fluid and neuroimaging biomarkers show promise to sensitively quantify axonal injury. By assessing these longitudinally in a large cohort, we aim both to improve our understanding of the pathophysiology of TBI, and provide better tools to predict clinical outcome. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: BIOmarkers of AXonal injury after TBI is a prospective longitudinal study of fluid and neuroimaging biomarkers of axonal injury after moderate-to-severe TBI, currently being conducted across multiple European centres. We will provide a detailed characterisation of axonal injury after TBI, using fluid (such as plasma/microdialysate neurofilament light) and neuroimaging biomarkers (including diffusion tensor MRI), which will then be related to detailed clinical, cognitive and functional outcome measures. We aim to recruit at least 250 patients, including 40 with cerebral microdialysis performed, with serial assessments performed twice in the first 10 days after injury, subacutely at 10 days to 6 weeks, at 6 and 12 months after injury. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The relevant ethical approvals have been granted by the following ethics committees: in London, by the Camberwell St Giles Research Ethics Committee; in Policlinico (Milan), by the Comitato Etico Milano Area 2; in Niguarda (Milan), by the Comitato Etico Milano Area 3; in Careggi (Florence), by the Comitato Etico Regionale per la Sperimentazione Clinica della Regione Toscana, Sezione area vasta centro; in Trento, by the Trento Comitato Etico per le Sperimentazioni Cliniche, Azienda Provinciale per i Servizi Sanitari della Provincia autonoma di Trento; in Lausanne, by the Commission cantonale d'éthique de la recherche sur l'être humain; in Ljubljana, by the National Medical

Journal article

Laverse E, Guo T, Zimmerman K, Foiani MS, Velani B, Morrow P, Adejuwon A, Bamford R, Underwood N, George J, Brooke D, OBrien K, Cross MJ, Kemp SPT, Heslegrave AJ, Hardy J, Sharp DJ, Zetterberg H, Morris HRet al., 2020, Plasma glial fibrillary acidic protein and neurofilament light chain, but not tau, are biomarkers of sports-related mild traumatic brain injury, Brain Communications, Vol: 2, Pages: 1-10, ISSN: 2632-1297

Mild traumatic brain injury is a relatively common event in contact sports and there is increasing interest in the long-term neurocognitive effects. The diagnosis largely relies on symptom reporting and there is a need for objective tools to aid diagnosis and prognosis. There are recent reports that blood biomarkers could potentially help triage patients with suspected injury and normal CT findings. We have measured plasma concentrations of glial and neuronal proteins and explored their potential in the assessment of mild traumatic brain injury in contact sport.We recruited a prospective cohort of active male rugby players, who had pre-season baseline plasma sampling. From this prospective cohort, we recruited 25 players diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injury. We sampled post-match rugby players without head injuries as post-match controls. We measured plasma neurofilament light chain, tau and glial fibrillary acidic protein levels using ultrasensitive single molecule array technology. The data was analysed at the group and individual player level.Plasma glial fibrillary acidic protein concentration was significantly increased 1-hour post-injury in mild traumatic brain injury cases compared to the non-injured group (p = 0.017). Pairwise comparison also showed that glial fibrillary acidic protein levels were higher in players after a head injury in comparison to their pre-season levels at both 1-hour and 3 to 10-days post-injury time points (p = 0.039 and 0.040, respectively). There was also an increase in neurofilament light chain concentration in brain injury cases compared to the pre-season levels within the same individual at both time points (p = 0.023 and 0.002, respectively). Tau was elevated in both the non-injured control group and the 1-hour post-injury group compared to pre-season levels (p = 0.007 and 0.015, respectively). Furthermore, receiver operating characteristic analysis showed that glial

Journal article

Li L, Violante I, Zimmerman K, Leech R, Hampshire A, Patel M, Opitz A, McArthur D, Carmichael D, Sharp DJet al., 2019, Traumatic axonal injury influences the cognitive effect of non-invasive brain stimulation, Brain, Vol: 142, Pages: 3280-3293, ISSN: 1460-2156

Non-invasive brain stimulation has been widely investigated for as a potentialtreatment for a range of neurological and psychiatric conditions, including braininjury. However, the behavioural effects of brain stimulation are very variable, forreasons that are poorly understood. This is a particular challenge for traumatic braininjury, where patterns of damage and their clinical effects are heterogenous. Here wetest the hypothesis that the response to transcranial direct current stimulationfollowing traumatic brain injury is dependent on white matter damage within thestimulated network. We used a novel simultaneous stimulation-MRI protocolapplying anodal, cathodal and sham stimulation to 24 healthy and 35 moderate/severetraumatic brain injury patients. Stimulation was applied to the right inferior frontalgyrus/anterior insula node of the Salience Network, which was targeted because ourprevious work had shown its importance to executive function. Stimulation wasapplied during performance of the Stop Signal Task, which assesses responseinhibition, a key component of executive function. Structural MRI was used to assessthe extent of brain injury, including diffusion MRI assessment of post-traumaticaxonal injury. Functional MRI, which was simultaneously acquired to delivery ofstimulation, assessed the effects of stimulation on cognitive network function. Anodalstimulation improved response inhibition in control participants, an effect that was notobserved in the patient group. The extent of traumatic axonal injury within theSalience Network strongly influenced the behavioural response to stimulation.Increasing damage to the tract connecting the stimulated right inferior frontalgyrus/anterior insula to the rest of the SN was associated with reduced beneficialeffects of stimulation. In addition, anodal stimulation normalised Default ModeNetwork activation in patients with poor response inhibition, suggesting thatstimulation modulates communication between the networks invo

Journal article

Gorgoraptis N, Li LM, Whittington A, Zimmerman KA, Maclean LM, McLeod C, Ross E, Heslegrave A, Zetterberg H, Passchier J, Matthews PM, Gunn RN, McMillan TM, Sharp DJet al., 2019, In vivo detection of cerebral tau pathology in long-term survivors of traumatic brain injury, Science Translational Medicine, Vol: 11, Pages: 1-14, ISSN: 1946-6234

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can trigger progressive neurodegeneration, with tau pathology seen years after a single moderate-severe TBI. Identifying this type of posttraumatic pathology in vivo might help to understand the role of tau pathology in TBI pathophysiology. We used flortaucipir positron emission tomography (PET) to investigate whether tau pathology is present many years after a single TBI in humans. We examined PET data in relation to markers of neurodegeneration in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), structural magnetic resonance imaging measures, and cognitive performance. Cerebral flortaucipir binding was variable, with many participants with TBI showing increases in cortical and white matter regions. At the group level, flortaucipir binding was increased in the right occipital cortex in TBI when compared to healthy controls. Flortaucipir binding was associated with increased total tau, phosphorylated tau, and ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal hydrolase L1 CSF concentrations, as well as with reduced fractional anisotropy and white matter tissue density in TBI. Apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 genotype affected the relationship between flortaucipir binding and time since injury, CSF β amyloid 1–42 (Aβ42) concentration, white matter tissue density, and longitudinal Mini-Mental State Examination scores in TBI. The results demonstrate that tau PET is a promising approach to investigating progressive neurodegeneration associated with tauopathy after TBI.

Journal article

Li L, Violante I, Zimmerman K, Leech R, Hampsire A, Carmichael D, Sharp Det al., 2019, Exploring the targeted application of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) for cognitive modulation after brain injury, Brain Stimulation, Vol: 12, Pages: 454-454, ISSN: 1935-861X

Journal article

Li L, Violante I, Zimmerman K, Ross E, Leech R, Hampshire A, Carmichael D, Sharp Det al., 2017, EXPLORING THE TARGETED APPLICATION OF TDCS AFTER TBI, Publisher: BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, Pages: A82-A82, ISSN: 0022-3050

Conference paper

Datta G, Violante IR, Scott G, Zimmerman K, Santos-Ribeiro A, Rabiner EA, Gunn RN, Malik O, Ciccarelli O, Nicholas R, Matthews PMet al., 2016, Translocator positron-emission tomography and magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging of brain glial cell activation in multiple sclerosis., Multiple Sclerosis, Vol: 23, Pages: 1469-1478, ISSN: 1352-4585

BACKGROUND: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is characterised by a diffuse inflammatory response mediated by microglia and astrocytes. Brain translocator protein (TSPO) positron-emission tomography (PET) and [myo-inositol] magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) were used together to assess this. OBJECTIVE: To explore the in vivo relationships between MRS and PET [(11)C]PBR28 in MS over a range of brain inflammatory burden. METHODS: A total of 23 patients were studied. TSPO PET imaging with [(11)C]PBR28, single voxel MRS and conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) sequences were undertaken. Disability was assessed by Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) and Multiple Sclerosis Functional Composite (MSFC). RESULTS: [(11)C]PBR28 uptake and [ myo-inositol] were not associated. When the whole cohort was stratified by higher [(11)C]PBR28 inflammatory burden, [ myo-inositol] was positively correlated to [(11)C]PBR28 uptake (Spearman's ρ = 0.685, p = 0.014). Moderate correlations were found between [(11)C]PBR28 uptake and both MRS creatine normalised N-acetyl aspartate (NAA) concentration and grey matter volume. MSFC was correlated with grey matter volume (ρ = 0.535, p = 0.009). There were no associations between other imaging or clinical measures. CONCLUSION: MRS [ myo-inositol] and PET [(11)C]PBR28 measure independent inflammatory processes which may be more commonly found together with more severe inflammatory disease. Microglial activation measured by [(11)C]PBR28 uptake was associated with loss of neuronal integrity and grey matter atrophy.

Journal article

Rinne P, Mace M, Nakornchai T, Zimmerman K, Fayer S, Sharma P, Liardon JL, Burdet E, Bentley Pet al., 2016, Democratizing Neurorehabilitation: How Accessible are Low-Cost Mobile-Gaming Technologies for Self-Rehabilitation of Arm Disability in Stroke?, PLOS One, Vol: 11, ISSN: 1932-6203

Motor-training software on tablets or smartphones (Apps) offer a low-cost, widely-available solution to supplement arm physiotherapy after stroke. We assessed the proportions of hemiplegic stroke patients who, with their plegic hand, could meaningfully engage with mobile-gaming devices using a range of standard control-methods, as well as by using a novel wireless grip-controller, adapted for neurodisability. We screened all newly-diagnosed hemiplegic stroke patients presenting to a stroke centre over 6 months. Subjects were compared on their ability to control a tablet or smartphone cursor using: finger-swipe, tap, joystick, screen-tilt, and an adapted handgrip. Cursor control was graded as: no movement (0); less than full-range movement (1); full-range movement (2); directed movement (3). In total, we screened 345 patients, of which 87 satisfied recruitment criteria and completed testing. The commonest reason for exclusion was cognitive impairment. Using conventional controls, the proportion of patients able to direct cursor movement was 38-48%; and to move it full-range was 55-67% (controller comparison: p>0.1). By comparison, handgrip enabled directed control in 75%, and full-range movement in 93% (controller comparison: p<0.001). This difference between controllers was most apparent amongst severely-disabled subjects, with 0% achieving directed or full-range control with conventional controls, compared to 58% and 83% achieving these two levels of movement, respectively, with handgrip. In conclusion, hand, or arm, training Apps played on conventional mobile devices are likely to be accessible only to mildly-disabled stroke patients. Technological adaptations such as grip-control can enable more severely affected subjects to engage with self-training software.

Journal article

Zimmerman K, Scott G, Violante I, Feeney C, Sharp Det al., 2016, Magnetic resonance spectroscopy of the thalamus in chronic traumatic brain injury, International Brain Injury Association’s Eleventh World Congress on Brain Injury, Publisher: Taylor &; Francis, Pages: 660-661, ISSN: 1362-301X

Conference paper

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