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Ulster Lecturer Honoured For Research Work

Dr Sheila Lennon from the Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Research Institute has been honoured with a fellowship by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

The UK award recognises Dr Lennon’s contribution to research in neurological rehabilitation.

Her studies have covered a broad range of topics with the latest research trials being some of the most significant. Dr Lennon heads the Neuro-rehabilitation Hub for the research institute whose current projects are investigating the effect of exercise and physiotherapy on stroke and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients.

”The work that my researchers and I carry out is the building blocks of what could be more improved treatment for MS and stroke patients,” she said.

“I am absolutely delighted to have received this fellowship and nominated by my peers for this recognition and award. It is recognition of the work that the entire Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Research Institute has been undertaking. The fundamental principles of what we do are to improve patient care and develop new methods and new techniques which are relevant not just to patients in our local hospitals and care centres but throughout the world.”

Dr Lennon is the Northern Ireland lead researcher on the largest stroke rehabilitation project in the world, called AVERT, that provides exercise therapy within 24 hours of stroke. AVERT NI is funded by Northern Ireland, Chest, Heart and Stroke and over 850 patients from 40 hospitals in Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Singapore and Malaysia take part in the research, which is investigating if this type of post-stroke care is beneficial to patient recovery.

Dr Lennon’s research team are also in the final year of investigating if group exercise classes can help people with MS to improve their balance, mobility and quality of life. Over 150 patients have taken part in the research which is being carried out with the MS Society, and is funded by the Public Health Agency Research and Development Office in Northern Ireland. Exercise classes are held twice weekly for six weeks and supervised by experienced physiotherapists.