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Our Research Projects

The effect of COVID-19 restrictions on physical and mental health of disabled children and young adults - led by Dr Nicola Theis and Dr Natalie Campbell

The emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (Covid-19) has led to a worldwide pandemic, which caused UK home confinement to begin on 23rd March 2020, prohibiting people from leaving their home, with the exception of essential activities such as buying food, accessing healthcare and to take part in up to 60 minutes outdoor exercise per day.

However, for the disabled community who rely heavily on access to specialist equipment, facilities and therapies, lockdown restrictions are likely to have profoundly affected both physical and mental health. We launched a Covid-19 survey on 17 June 2020 (for 4 weeks) to investigate the physical and mental health of disabled children and young adults, before and three months into the lockdown restrictions to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. We continue to investigate the long-term effects of the pandemic for the disabled community.

Theis, N., Campbell, N., De Leeuw, J., Owen, M., Schenke, K. C. (2021). The effects of COVID-19 restrictions on the physical and mental health of disabled children and young adults. Disability and Health Journal, 14(3), https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33549499/

The effects of RaceRunning for those with neurological disorders - led by Dr Nicola Theis and Dr Natalie Campbell

This research aims to further our understanding of RaceRunning as a disability sport for those with neuromuscular disorders. In particular, we are interested in the effects RaceRunning may have on cardiometabolic risk factors and quality of life. This research project is part of a multi centre intervention study (University of Gloucestershire and Queen Margaret’s University) following a grant from Action Medical Research for £72,422.

Ryan, J., Theis, N., Koufaki et al. (2020). Effect of RaceRunning on cardiometabolic disease risk factors and functional mobility in young people with moderate-to-severe cerebral palsy: protocol for a feasibility study. BMJ Open, 10(7),  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32611743/

Shafizadeh, M., Theis, N., Davids, K. (2019). Locomotor adaptations during RaceRunning in people with neurological motor disorders. Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly, 1-14. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31113207/

The effects of hydrotherapy on physical function, participation and wellbeing - led by Dr Nicola Theis and Dr Natalie Campbell

There is strong anecdotal evidence for the effectiveness of hydrotherapy in managing a number of child and adult disabilities, including arthritis, joint hypermobility and muscular dystrophy. However, the evidence-base for hydrotherapy is very limited. In collaboration with Gloucestershire NHS Trust, we are currently seeking funding from Gloucestershire Arthritis Trust, Muscular Dystrophy UK and other organisations for a series of studies to investigate the effects of hydrotherapy on physical function, participation and mental wellbeing in a number of paediatric and adult disabilities.

Understanding the physiological and biomechanical changes accompanying neurological disorders - led by Dr Nicola Theis and Dr Natalie Campbell

In order to find the best possible treatment and management strategies for those with neurological disorders, we must first seek to understand the changes to the musculoskeletal system, which are caused by neurological conditions. In this research, we investigate the differences in muscle structure and function and its impact on movement.

Noorkoiv, M., Lavelle, G., Theis, N., Korff, T., Kilbride, C., Baltzopoulos, V., Shortland,A., Levin, W., Ryan, J. M.
Predictors of walking efficiency in children with cerebral palsy: lower body joint angles, moment and power. Physical Therapy Journal, 99(6):711-720. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31155663/

Noorkoiv, M., Theis, N., Lavelle, G. & Ryan, J. (2018). A comparison of 3D ultrasound to MRI for the measurement and estimation of gastrocnemius muscle volume in adults and young people with and without cerebral palsy. Clinical Anatomy, 32, 319-327. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30479004/

Theis, N. (2016).Invited article. Lower limb muscle growth in unilateral and bilateral cerebral palsy. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 58, 1102-1103. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/dmcn.13149

Theis, N., Mohagheghi, A. A., & Korff, T. (2016). Mechanical and material properties of the triceps surae muscles and Achilles tendon in children with spastic cerebral palsy and typically developing children. Journal of Biomechanics, 49, 3004-3008. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0021929016307886

Developing evidence-based practice in the management of movement disorders - led by Dr Nicola Theis and Dr Natalie Campbell

With this research, we aim to provide evidence-based practice for the most common interventions used within the NHS for the treatment of movement disorders. This includes providing an evidence base for the use of stretching, strength training and nutritional supplementation for those with a movement disability.

Theis, N., Noorkoiv, M., Lavelle, G., Ryan, J. (2021).  Predictors of treatment response to progressive resistance training for adolescents with cerebral palsy. Disability and Rehabilitation. https://academic.oup.com/ptj/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/ptj/pzab202/6358614?redirectedFrom=fulltext

Ryan, J. M., Theis, N., Lavelle, G., Noorkoiv, M., Korff, T., Kilbride, C., Baltzopoulos, V., Shortland, A., Levin, W. (2019).  
Effects of a progressive resistance training programme for adolescents with cerebral palsy (the STAR trial): a randomised controlled trial. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 62(11). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26056856/

Theis, N., Brown, M. A., Wood, P., Waldron, M. (2020). Leucine supplementation increases muscle strength and volume, reduces inflammation, and affects wellbeing in adults and adolescents with cerebral palsy. Journal of Nutrition. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31965179/

Theis, N., Korff, T., & Mohagheghi, A. A. (2015). Does long-term passive stretching alter muscle-tendon unit mechanics in children with spastic cerebral palsy? Clinical Biomechanics, 30(10), 1071-6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26403361/

Theis, N., Korff, T., Kairon, H., & Mohagheghi, A. A. (2013). Does acute passive stretching increase muscle length in children with cerebral palsy? Clinical Biomechanics, 28, 1061-1067. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24210836/

Kilbride, C.,Norris, M., Theis, N., & Mohagheghi, A. A. (2013). Action for Rehabilitation from Neurological Injury (ARNI): A pragmatic study of functional training for stroke survivors. Open Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation, 2, 40-51. https://www.scirp.org/Journal/PaperInformation.aspx?PaperID=39929

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Research Strategy

Research Strategy

In the UK today there are 11 million people with a disability. Our research work with disabled people across the lifespan gives us a unique perspective in the charity sector that allows us to provide research-driven advice and management to several different conditions.

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Our Research Partners

Our Research Partners

Find out who our Research Partners are and how they have helped and continue to help us with our research work.

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The Chamwell Centre was built entirely by charitable funding and will rely on the generosity of the public, businesses and charitable trusts to continue its work and to ensure that children and adults in Gloucestershire can enjoy its facilities.

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