New centre for kids with brain injury

By Mardi Chapman

13 Nov 2018

Dr Kartik Lyer (L) and Associate Professor Karen Barlow (R) in the KidStim Lab

Dr Kartik Lyer (L) and Associate Professor Karen Barlow (R) in the KidStim Lab

Australia’s first non-invasive neuromodulation laboratory dedicated to improving outcomes for children with acquired brain injuries has opened in Brisbane.

The KidStim Lab, at the University of Queensland’s Child Health Research Centre, will extend the range of non-invasive treatment options for children with acquired brain injuries from incidents such as a stroke or car accident.

It also offers the potential for treatment of the mood and behavioural disorders such as depression and anxiety commonly seen after brain injury but also in normally developing teenagers.

Lab Director and paediatric neurologist Associate Professor Karen Barlow said rehabilitation therapy in combination with repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) will be offered.

“These therapies can change specific regions of brain activity and improve network communication to potentially improve learning, sleep and energy levels and decrease headaches,” she said.

“Children with stroke report improved physical recovery and increased participation in activities, while children with depression report improved mood and well-being.”

Associate Professor Barlow’s research interests include the neurobiological signatures and treatment of subtle neurological dysfunction in mild traumatic brain injury and concussion, especially the behavioural and cognitive impairments that are found in post-concussion syndrome.

The KidStim Lab brings together multidisciplinary expertise from UQ, the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Griffith University, the Queensland Paediatric Rehabilitation Service and Children’s Health Queensland.

It will collaborate with renowned international centres, including the Hotchkiss Brain Institute in Canada and the University of Minnesota.

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