McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Neurorehabilitation focus of Hooker Lecture

Published: May 23, 2006
Family Medicine Photo
Carolee J. Winstein, a professor of biokinesiology and physical therapy at the University of Southern California (USC)

Some of the latest advances in stroke rehabilitation will be the subject of a public lecture being held at McMaster University on Thursday, May 25.

Carolee J. Winstein, a professor of biokinesiology and physical therapy at the University of Southern California (USC), will discuss research in the field of rehabilitation science that involves understanding how a healthy body learns new motor skills, and applying that knowledge to neurorehabilitation.

Winstein will be at McMaster as the Dr. Harry Lyman Hooker Distinguished Visiting Scholar. Her lecture begins at 4:30 p.m. in room B102 of the Institute for Applied Health Sciences.

The lecture organized by the School of Rehabilitation Science is open to everyone.

Winstein, a physiotherapist who is also director of the Laboratory of Motor Behavior and Neurorehabilitation at USC, will highlight the evolution of motor skill as a framework for the pre-clinical and clinical trials research in which she is engaged.

She explained that the field of rehabilitation science has only recently come into its own with the development of evidence-based approaches that are predicated on the idea that the brain has an inherent capability to restructure itself, especially if it is challenged in just the right way.

Using case examples of patients who have some paralysis on one side of the body as the result of a stroke, Winstein will highlight how the understanding of some uniquely human cognitive functions can help develop more beneficial rehabilitation therapies for post-stroke paralysis.

She will also discuss research that calls into question the scientific support for the "learned-non-use" component of post-stroke paralysis, and suggests instead that an alternative approach based on skill learning and the brain’s ability to restructure itself will allow for optimal recovery of motor function.

Winstein is known for her research on motor control and learning, and has published extensively on scientifically-derived approaches to neurorehabilitation.

The Harry Lyman Hooker Distinguished Visiting Scholar is an annual honour bestowed by McMaster University on highly accomplished academics who have made significant contributions to their field of study. Those chosen to deliver the lecture are selected based on the ability of their teaching and research to enhance academia in their area of expertise, as well as across the university in general.

This is the first time the School of Rehabilitation Science has received the lecture.

The lecture is funded by the university through a bequeath from Dr. Harry Lyman Hooker, who grew up in Hamilton, before becoming a doctor in New York City. He left a multi-million dollar bequeath to McMaster upon his death in 1979.

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