Broadway office: 02 9514 7222; Moore Park lab: 02 9514 4039
Alana is a lecturer in the Graduate School of Health, Discipline of Physiotherapy. Her research in the Clinical Neurostimulation Laboratory uses noninvasive brain stimulation techniques in humans to better understand neurological movement disorders such as stroke and dystonia. By increasing our understanding of the neurological deficits that are present in these movement disorders, new rehabilitation strategies can be developed to improve motor performance and reduce motor impairment.
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- How does the brain control arm movement using direct and indirect motor pathways?
- How does the brain control movement after injury or disease? eg., stroke, dystonia
- Can neural control of the arm in healthy people be improved i.e., using non-invasive brain stimulation techniques?
- Can better rehabilitaiton outcomes be achieved for people after brain injury using non-invasive brain stimulation?
Quantitative research methods
Research projects using noninvasive brain stimulation techniques such as;
- transcranial magnetic stimulation
- peripheral nerve stimulation
- transcranial direct current stimulation
McCambridge, A.B., Stinear, J.W. & Byblow, W.D. 2018, 'Revisiting interhemispheric imbalance in chronic stroke: A tDCS study.', Clinical neurophysiology : official journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology, vol. 129, no. 1, pp. 42-50.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Chronic stroke patients with moderate-severe motor impairment may have an increased reliance on contralesional vs ipsilesional motor areas to control the paretic arm. We hypothesised that increasing contralesional excitability with anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (a-tDCS) would benefit motor performance in patients with moderate-severe impairment.Ten patients with motor impairment at the chronic stage after stroke received a-tDCS, cathodal (c-tDCS) and sham with the target electrode over contralesional motor cortex (M1). Motor performance was quantified from the circularity and size of planar movements made with the paretic arm. Contralateral and ipsilateral corticospinal excitability was inferred using transcranial magnetic stimulation. Corticospinal tract integrity and basal GABA concentration were assessed with magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy.Anodal tDCS increased contralesional corticomotor excitability evident from motor evoked potentials in both wrist extensors (both P<0.043). Cathodal tDCS did not affect corticomotor excitability (P>0.37). The effect of tDCS on motor performance with the paretic limb was negatively associated with ipsilesional GABA concentration after c-tDCS (P=0.001).Further investigation of noninvasive brain stimulation protocols that facilitate contralesional M1 is warranted.The inter-hemispheric imbalance model of stroke recovery may not apply to patients with more severe impairment.
McCambridge, A.B., Stinear, J.W., Peek, S. & Byblow, W.D. 2017, 'Propriospinal cutaneous-induced EMG suppression is unaltered by anodal tDCS of healthy motor cortex.', Clinical neurophysiology : official journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology, vol. 128, no. 9, pp. 1608-1616.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Cervical propriospinal premotoneurons (PN) relay descending motor commands and integrate peripheral afferent feedback. Effects of anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (a-tDCS) on propriospinal excitability in the upper limbs are unknown.Healthy right-handed adults received a-tDCS or sham tDCS over primary motor cortex (M1) at 1mA (Experiment 1, n=18) or 2mA current intensity (Experiment 2, n=15). Propriospinal excitability was assessed by suppression of background electromyography (EMG) in extensor carpi radialis (ECR) from electrical stimulation of the superficial radial nerve during bilateral (Experiment 1 and 2) or unilateral (Experiment 2 only) activation of the left and/or right ECR. EMG suppression could be attributed to an early propriospinal component and late cortical component. Motor evoked potentials (MEP) were obtained as a manipulation check.Before tDCS, propriospinal-mediated cutaneous-induced suppression was present in each arm for early and late components. ECR MEP amplitude increased after 1mA, but not 2mA, a-tDCS. Neither 1mA nor 2mA a-tDCS modulated either component of ipsilateral or contralateral propriospinal excitability during bilateral or unilateral tasks.Propriospinal-mediated cutaneous-induced suppression was not modulated by a-tDCS in healthy adults.Reporting non-significant findings is paramount for the development of clinically-relevant tDCS protocols.
McCambridge, A.B., Stinear, J.W. & Byblow, W.D. 2016, 'Are ipsilateral motor evoked potentials subject to intracortical inhibition?', Journal of Neurophysiology, vol. 115, no. 3, pp. 1735-1739.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
McCambridge, A.B., Stinear, J.W. & Byblow, W.D. 2016, 'Neurophysiological and behavioural effects of dual-hemisphere transcranial direct current stimulation on the proximal upper limb', Experimental Brain Research, vol. 234, no. 6, pp. 1419-1428.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Kersten, P., McCambridge, A., M Kayes, N., Theadom, A. & McPherson, K.M. 2015, 'Bridging the gap between goal intentions and actions: a systematic review in patient populations.', Disability and rehabilitation, vol. 37, no. 7, pp. 563-570.View/Download from: Publisher's site
To evaluate the evidence for the effectiveness of if-then implementation intentions (if-then plans) in adult patient populations. Outcomes of interest included adherence, goal pursuit and physical health outcomes.Keywords were used to search electronic databases without date or language restrictions (up to 30 April 2014). Studies were included if they (1) concerned a patient population; (2) used if-then plans as a sole intervention or as part of treatment, therapy or rehabilitation; (3) if they were randomised controlled trials. The PEDro scale was used to evaluate study quality. Guidance as set out by the Cochrane Collaboration was used. Two reviewers independently extracted data, discrepancies were discussed and if required referred to a third reviewer.In total, 18 of the 2141 articles were identified as potentially relevant and four studies of people with epilepsy, chronic back pain, stroke and obesity met the inclusion criteria. People who form if-then plans achieved better outcomes on epilepsy and stroke medication adherence and physical capacity than controls.Of the four studies that used an if-then plan, only one (people with epilepsy) looked at the intervention as a stand-alone strategy. Further research needs to explore if this simple approach improves rehabilitation outcomes and is a helpful and feasible strategy for people experiencing disabilities. Implications for Rehabilitation Steps involved in achieving goals, such as doing exercises or completing other goal related tasks, can be compromised for people with chronic health conditions particularly resulting from difficulties in self-regulating behaviour. If-then plans are implementation intention tools aimed at supporting people to deal more effectively with self-regulatory problems that might undermine goal striving and goal attainment, and have been found to be effective in health promotion and health behaviour change. This systematic literature review identified four studies completed with patien...
Kersten, P., McPherson, K.M., Kayes, N.M., Theadom, A. & McCambridge, A. 2015, 'Bridging the goal intention-action gap in rehabilitation: a study of if-then implementation intentions in neurorehabilitation.', Disability and rehabilitation, vol. 37, no. 12, pp. 1073-1081.View/Download from: Publisher's site
To test the feasibility and acceptability of an implementation intention strategy (if-then plans) increasingly used in health psychology to bridge the goal intention-action gap in rehabilitation with people with neurological conditions who are experiencing difficulties with mobility.Twenty people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and stroke, randomised to an experimental and control group, set up to three mobility related goals with a physiotherapist. The experimental group also formulated if-then plans for every goal.Focus groups and interviews with participants and therapists; Patient Activation Measure (PAM), 10-m walk test, Rivermead Mobility Index, self-efficacy, subjective health status, quality of life.Qualitative data highlighted one main theme: Rehabilitation in context, encapsulating the usefulness of the if-then strategy in thinking about the patient in the context of complexity, the usefulness of home-based rehabilitation, and the perceived need for a few more sessions. Changes in walking speed were in the expected direction for both groups; PAM scores improved over 3 months in both groups.If-then plans were feasible and acceptable in bridging the goal intention-action gap in rehabilitation with people with MS and stroke, who are experiencing difficulties with mobility. This approach can now be adapted and trialled further in a definitive study.Goal planning in rehabilitation necessitates specific strategies that help people engage in goal-related tasks. If-then plans aim to support people to deal more effectively with self-regulatory problems that might undermine goal striving and have been found to be effective in health promotion and health behaviour change. This feasibility study with people with a stroke and multiple sclerosis has demonstrated that if-then plans are feasible and acceptable to patients and physiotherapists in supporting goal-directed behaviour.
McCambridge, A.B., Stinear, J.W. & Byblow, W.D. 2015, ''I-wave' Recruitment Determines Response to tDCS in the Upper Limb, but Only So Far.', Brain stimulation, vol. 8, no. 6, pp. 1124-1129.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (a-tDCS) can facilitate primary motor cortex (M1), but the modulation of motor evoked potentials (MEPs) by a-tDCS varies between participants, and may depend on the balance between early versus late I-wave recruitment, as assessed by the difference in MEP latency between latero-medial and anterior-posterior cortical currents induced by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).To date, the dependence of tDCS after-effects on I-wave recruitment has only been investigated in intrinsic hand muscles. In order to better understand the effects of tDCS across the upper limb, the present study examined I-wave recruitment and MEP modulation by a-tDCS or dual-hemisphere tDCS in muscles of the forearm (Extensor Carpi Radialis; ECR) and proximal upper limb (Biceps Brachii; BB).We conducted a randomized double-blind study with 18 healthy adults. Each received anodal, dual-hemisphere, or sham tDCS over M1 in separate sessions (tDCS, 1 mA for 15 min).Linear regression analyzes showed a-tDCS modulated MEP size dependent on the latency difference in the ECR (P = 0.01) but not BB (P = 0.28). Individuals with small MEP latency differences showed the expected facilitation of ECR MEPs after a-tDCS, whereas those with large MEP latency differences had suppressed ECR MEPs after a-tDCS. This relationship was not present after dual-hemisphere or sham tDCS in either muscle (all P > 0.32).I-wave recruitment can predict the after-effects of a-tDCS in the distal but not proximal upper limb. These findings provide further insight into the variability of tDCS after-effects, and the relationship between I-wave recruitment and putative mechanisms of tDCS.
McCambridge, A.B., Stinear, J.W. & Byblow, W.D. 2014, 'A dissociation between propriospinal facilitation and inhibition after bilateral transcranial direct current stimulation.', Journal of Neurophysiology, vol. 111, no. 11, pp. 2187-2195.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Propriospinal premotoneurons (PN) are essential for accurate control of the upper limb. They receive bilateral input from premotor (PM) and primary motor (M1) cortices. In humans, excitability of PNs can be estimated from motor-evoked potentials (MEPs) by pairing a descending volley using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to summate with an ascending volley from peripheral nerve stimulation at the C3-C4 level of the spinal cord. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) alters excitability of cortical and subcortical areas. A recent study demonstrated that cathodal tDCS can suppress facilitatory (FAC) and inhibitory (INH) components of PN excitability, presumably via effects on corticoreticulospinal neurons (Bradnam LV, Stinear CM, Lewis GN, Byblow WD. J Neurophysiol 103: 2382-2389, 2010). The present study investigated the effects of bilateral tDCS with healthy subjects. The cathode was placed over left dorsal PM or M1 and the anode over right M1 in separate sessions (PM-M1, M1-M1, or Sham). TMS of right M1 elicited MEPs in left biceps brachii across a range of TMS intensities chosen to examine PN-mediated FAC and INH. Conditioning was applied using median nerve stimulation with an interstimulus interval that coincided with TMS and peripheral volleys summating at the C3-C4 level. All participants showed FAC at TMS intensities near active motor threshold and INH at slightly higher intensities. After tDCS, FAC was reduced for M1-M1 compared with Sham but not after PM-M1 stimulation. Contrary to an earlier study with cathodal tDCS, INH was unchanged across all sessions. The difference between these and earlier findings may relate to dual- vs. single-hemisphere M1 stimulation. M1-M1 tDCS may be a useful adjuvant to techniques that aim to reduce upper limb impairment after stroke.
Byblow, W.D., Stinear, C.M., Smith, M.-.C., Bjerre, L., Flaskager, B.K. & McCambridge, A.B. 2012, 'Mirror symmetric bimanual movement priming can increase corticomotor excitability and enhance motor learning.', PloS one, vol. 7, no. 3, p. e33882.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Repetitive mirror symmetric bilateral upper limb may be a suitable priming technique for upper limb rehabilitation after stroke. Here we demonstrate neurophysiological and behavioural after-effects in healthy participants after priming with 20 minutes of repetitive active-passive bimanual wrist flexion and extension in a mirror symmetric pattern with respect to the body midline (MIR) compared to an control priming condition with alternating flexion-extension (ALT). Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) indicated that corticomotor excitability (CME) of the passive hemisphere remained elevated compared to baseline for at least 30 minutes after MIR but not ALT, evidenced by an increase in the size of motor evoked potentials in ECR and FCR. Short and long-latency intracortical inhibition (SICI, LICI), short afferent inhibition (SAI) and interhemispheric inhibition (IHI) were also examined using pairs of stimuli. LICI differed between patterns, with less LICI after MIR compared with ALT, and an effect of pattern on IHI, with reduced IHI in passive FCR 15 minutes after MIR compared with ALT and baseline. There was no effect of pattern on SAI or FCR H-reflex. Similarly, SICI remained unchanged after 20 minutes of MIR. We then had participants complete a timed manual dexterity motor learning task with the passive hand during, immediately after, and 24 hours after MIR or control priming. The rate of task completion was faster with MIR priming compared to control conditions. Finally, ECR and FCR MEPs were examined within a pre-movement facilitation paradigm of wrist extension before and after MIR. ECR, but not FCR, MEPs were consistently facilitated before and after MIR, demonstrating no degradation of selective muscle activation. In summary, mirror symmetric active-passive bimanual movement increases CME and can enhance motor learning without degradation of muscle selectivity. These findings rationalise the use of mirror symmetric bimanual movement as a priming modality...
Biddle, M., Vincent, G., McCambridge, A.B., Britton, G., Dewes, O., Elley, C.R., Moyes, S.A. & Edge, J. 2011, 'Randomised controlled trial of informal team sports for cardiorespiratory fitness and health benefit in Pacific adults', Journal of Primary Health Care, vol. 3, no. 4, pp. 269-277.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Introduction: Rates of obesity, Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease are high among Pacific
people in New Zealand. Physical activity is recommended in the prevention and management of these
conditions. Community-based, 'small-sided game' group activities may be an effective and culturally appropriate
way to promote physical activity within Pacific communities.
Aim: To assess the effectiveness of small-sided games-based exercise on fitness and health parameters
among Pacific adults over four weeks.
Methods: Twenty untrained (13 female) Pacific adults were randomised to intervention or control.
Intervention participants were offered 45 minutes of small-sided games three times per week for four
weeks. Control participants were offered one-month gym membership after the trial. Primary outcomes
included cardiorespiratory fitness (VO2
peak) and leg strength (maximal concentric force of quadriceps at
60°/second) measured at baseline and four weeks. Secondary outcomes included glycaemia, lipid profile,
blood pressure (BP), and inflammatory markers. Multivariable regression models were used to assess
differences between groups, adjusting for baseline values, age and gender.
Results: At baseline, mean age was 34.8 years (SD 12.6), BMI 36.3 (6.7), systolic BP 127.7 mmHg
(12.1), HbA1c 6.1% (1.9), VO2
peak 2.5 L/min (0.6) and leg strength 170.0 N.m (57.4). Sixteen participants
completed the trial. Change in outcomes were greater in intervention than control participants in absolute
peak (0.9 L/min (p=0.003)), leg strength (17.8 N.m (p=0.04)) and HDL (0.12 mmol/L (p=0.02)). There
were no other significant differences.
DISCUSSION: Small-sided games appear to be a promising means for improving the health and cardiorespiratory
fitness and reducing the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease in Pacific adults.
KEYWORDS: Exercise; diabetes mellitus, Type 2; Pacific Islands; randomized controlled trial; health
McCambridge, A.B., Bradnam, L.V., Stinear, C.M. & Byblow, W.D. 2011, 'Cathodal transcranial direct current stimulation of the primary motor cortex improves selective muscle activation in the ipsilateral arm', JOURNAL OF NEUROPHYSIOLOGY, vol. 105, no. 6, pp. 2937-2942.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
McCambridge, A.B., Stinear, J.W. & Byblow, W.B. 2015, ''I-wave recruitment predicts response to tDCS in the upper limb, but only so far', Brain Stimulation, Elsevier, Singapore, pp. 357-357.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
McCambridge, A.B., Stinear, J.W. & Byblow, W.B. 2014, 'P647: A dissociation between propriospinal facilitation and inhibition after bilateral transcranial direct current stimulation', Journal of Clinical Neurophysiology, ICCN, Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, Berlin, pp. S226-S226.
McCambridge, A.B., 'Ipsilateral Motor Evoked Potentials and Intracortical Inhibition'.
Seeking to better understand the role of ipsilateral primary motor cortex during functional motor tasks, Byblow and colleagues examined whether ipsilateral motor evoked potentials (iMEPs) in the biceps brachii would be suppressed by sub-threshold conditioning, thereby demonstrating short-interval intracortical inhibition of iMEPs. In this podcast, Editor-in-Chief Bill Yates (University of Pittsburgh) and Associate Editor Monica A. Perez (University of Miami) join authors Winston Byblow (University of Auckland) and Alana McCambridge (University of Auckland) in an engaging discussion about their recent work. Are ipsilateral motor evoked potentials subject to intracortical inhibition? Listen and find out.