Neurorehabilitation and Recovery

Professor Leeanne Carey

Clinical Research Leader and Head, Neurorehabilitation and Recovery, Stroke Division,
The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health,
Phone: +61 3 90357088

The potential to drive adaptive neural plastic changes through rehabilitation is enormous and likely to lead to major changes in rehabilitation practice and better outcomes for stroke survivors. However, we do not have effective means of identifying individuals who may benefit from therapy nor how to select the most optimal therapy for an individual. The Neurorehabilitation and Recovery research program focuses on stroke recovery: in particular how the brain adapts and how we can harness that potential in rehabilitation. The research involves development of novel rehabilitation approaches and personalised stroke rehabilitation informed by neuroscience. MRI is used to investigate how changes in the brain can help target rehabilitation most optimally to individual stroke survivors. Our research also examines factors, such as depression and cognition, that impact on stroke recovery. An important focus is to translate these discoveries into clinical practice and better outcomes for stroke survivors. 

In 2014 the Neurorehabilitation and Recovery group achieved major steps forward in advancing its program of research focused on harnessing real world drivers of neuroplasticity. The major objective of our group is to translate knowledge from neuroscience into evidence-based clinical practice protocols and better outcomes for stroke survivors. This goal represents a paradigm shift for stroke rehabilitation and better outcomes for the 1 in 6 people who experience a stroke.  Our research is focussed on: Targeting rehabilitation to the individual based on accessible brain networks; Neurobiology of recovery and impact of depression on outcome; and Implementation of evidence-based practice, as outlined below.

In 2014, we achieved 100% recruitment to the START longitudinal stroke cohort study and continued to lead the advanced imaging and clinical arm of the study. We received final ethics approval and initiated the first site for our new study SENSe Implement. Our aim here is to develop a template and clinical practice guidelines for implementation of evidence-based rehabilitation in clinical practice settings. Our national and international standing in translational neuroscience and stroke rehabilitation, and scope for accelerated influence in the field, has been affirmed by our success in 2014 as lead site and Principal Investigator of an international James S. McDonnell Collaborative Award to Translate Neuroscience to Rehabilitation and Everyday Life (2015-2017; $528,000 USD; a consortium of 70 researchers worldwide) and lead of the clinical discovery and neuroimaging stream on the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Stroke Rehabilitation and Brain Recovery (2015-2019; $2,500,000).

View all major research projects here>>


Leeanne Carey, BAppSc(OT), PhD
Gemma Lamp, BSc(Hons)
Tamara Tse, BOT,
Caroline Bailey, BOT
Peter Goodin, BSc (Hons)
Megan Turville, BOT
Mary Mastos, BOT,

Honorary Associates

Rudiger Seitz, Honorary Professor
Thomas Matyas, BA (Hons), PhD
Sheila Crewther, BScHons, MSc, DipEd, BOptom, MAPrelimNeuropsych, PhD(Caltech), MAPS
Jacinta Douglas, Honorary Professor
Aina Puce, Honorary Professor
Maria Gavrilescue, Collaborator, FNI
Jannette Blennerhassett, Honorary Research Fellow
Carolyn Baum, Honorary Professor
Assia Jaillard, Honorary Fellow
Rishma Vidyasagar, PhD


Isobel Hubbard, PhD Candidate
Yvonne Mak, PhD Candidate
Megan Turville, PhD Candidate
Liana Cahill, MSc (Research) Candidate
Barb Wolfenden, PhD Candidate
Brendon Haslam, PhD Candidate
Susan Taylor, PhD Candidate
Belinda McClean, PhD Candidate
Urvashy Gopaul, PhD Candidate
Zubiadah Yusoff, MSc Candidate
Anna Louise Joy, MSc Candidate

Carey, L.M., Macdonell, R. Matyas, D. SENSe: Study of the Effectiveness of Neurorehabilitation on Sensation. A randomized controlled trial. Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair. 2011; 25 (4), 304-313.

Carey, L.M., Abbott, D.F., Harvey, M.R., Puce, A., Seitz, R.J., Donnan, G.A. The Relationship between Touch Impairment and Brain Activation After Lesions of Subcortical and Cortical Somatosensory Regions. Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair. 2011; 25 (5), 443-457.

Carey, L.M., Matyas, T.A. Frequency of Discriminative Sensory Loss in the Hand after Stroke. Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine. 2011; 43 (3), 257-263.

Pascoe, M., Crewther, D., Carey, L., Crewther, S. Inflammation and Depression: Why Post Stroke Depression May be the Norm and not the Exception. International Journal of Stroke. 2011; 6 (2), 128-135. PMID: 21371275

Spitzer, J., Tse, T., Baum, C., Carey, L.M. (2011) Mild cognitive impairment impacts on activity participation post-stroke in an Australian cohort. Occupational Therapy Journal of Research: Occupational, Participation and Health: Special focus: Cognition and Executive Function. 31 (No 1 suppl), S8-15.

Carey, L.M. Neuroscience Makes Sense for Occupational Therapy. Viewpoint. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal. 2010; 57 (3), 197-199.

Carey, L.M., Blennerhassett, J., Matyas, T. Evidence for the retraining of sensation after stroke remains limited. Critically Appraised Papers. Commentary. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal. 2010; 57, 200-202.

Blennerhassett, J.M., Avery, R.M., Carey, L.M. The test-retest reliability and responsiveness to change for the Hand Function Survey during stroke rehabilitation. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal. 2010; 57, 355-446.

Hoare, B., Imms, C., Rawicki, H. B., Carey, L. Modified constraint-induced movement therapy or bimanual occupational therapy following injection of Botulinum toxin-A to improve bimanual performance in children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy: A randomised controlled trial methods paper. BMC Neurology 2010, 10:58.

Hoare, B., Wallen, M., Imms, C., Villanueva, E., Rawicki, H. B., Carey, L. Botulinum toxin A as an adjunct to treatment in the management of the upper limb in children with spastic hemiplegic cerebral palsy (Cochrane Review): Update. In: The Cochrane Library, Issue 1 2010. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Book chapters
Carey, L.M. (2010) Forward, In Lyons, W. Left of Tomorrow. ISBN: 9781921642456

Carey, L.M. & Baum, C. (In press) Occupational Therapy. In Azari, N.P. (ed). Encyclopaedia of Sciences and Religions. Springer Verlag. Heidelberg, Germany ISBN: 978-1-4020-8264-1

Puce, A. & Carey, L. (2010). Somatosensory function. In Weiner, I.B. & Craighead, WE, Nemeroff, CB (Eds) The Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 4th ed. New York. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Other publications
Carey, L.M. (2011) SENSe: An Evidence Based Approach to Sensory Rehabilitation. LaTrobe University (DVD)

Carey, L.M. (2011) Assessment of Body Sensations after Stroke. LaTrobe University (DVD)

Carey, LM (2010). Evidence based

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