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Int J Stroke. 2016 Jun;11(4):454-8. doi: 10.1177/1747493016643851. Epub 2016 Apr 12.

Moving rehabilitation research forward: Developing consensus statements for rehabilitation and recovery research.

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NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Stroke Rehabilitation and Recovery, Victoria, Australia The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Heidelberg, Australia
NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Stroke Rehabilitation and Recovery, Victoria, Australia The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Heidelberg, Australia.
Department of Physical Therapy and the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health, University of British Columbia, BC, Canada.
Departments of Neurology and Neurobiology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, USA.
Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada Heart and Stroke Foundation Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada.
Departments of Neurology, Anatomy & Neurobiology, and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, University of California, Irvine, USA.
Centre for Research in Evidence-Based Practice, Bond University, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Neuroscience Campus Amsterdam, VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Stroke Program, McGovern Medical School, UTHealth, Houston, Texas, USA.
Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada Stroke Outcomes Research Center, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, Toronto, Canada.
Division of Rehabilitation and Ageing, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK.
Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience UCL Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, London, UK National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, London, UK.


Stroke recovery is the next frontier in stroke medicine. While growth in rehabilitation and recovery research is exponential, a number of barriers hamper our ability to rapidly progress the field. Standardized terminology is absent in both animal and human research, methods are poorly described, recovery biomarkers are not well defined, and we lack consistent timeframes or measures to examine outcomes. Agreed methods and conventions for developing, monitoring, evaluating and reporting interventions directed at improving recovery are lacking, and current approaches are often not underpinned by biology. We urgently need to better understand the biology of recovery and its time course in both animals and humans to translate evidence from basic science into clinical trials. A new international partnership of stroke recovery and rehabilitation experts has committed to advancing the research agenda. In May 2016, the first Stroke Recovery and Rehabilitation Roundtable will be held, with the aim of achieving an agreed approach to the development, conduct and reporting of research. A range of methods will be used to achieve consensus in four priority areas: pre-clinical recovery research; biomarkers of recovery; intervention development, monitoring and reporting; and measurement in clinical trials. We hope to foster a global network of researchers committed to advancing this exciting field. Recovery from stroke is challenging for many survivors. They deserve effective treatments underpinned by our evolving understanding of brain recovery and human behaviour. Working together, we can develop game-changing interventions to improve recovery and quality of life in those living with stroke.


Consensus; neurobiology; recommendations; recovery; rehabilitation; stroke

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