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The University of Southampton
Active Living


We have made a major contribution to evidence-based rehabilitation. Through clinical trials, collaboration and close interaction with healthcare providers, we have translated cost-effective rehabilitation technologies into clinical practice. Our research crosses the boundaries between clinical science, engineering, neuroscience, biomechanical research, sport science, psychology and sociology.  


Our neurorehabilitation research has advanced knowledge of the mechanisms associated with neurological disease processes and recovery and led to the development of new neurorehabilitation technology for treatment and assessment.

Our neurorehabilitation discoveries have generated a better understanding of how people's lives are affected by neurological disease and injury, and have made major contributions to techniques for research and clinical evaluation.

From 1993 RHT researchers at the University of Southampton have investigated how innovative neurorehabilitation technology could provide more effective rehabilitation and reduce the burden of stroke on patients, families and society.


Balance and Falls

Professor Ann Ashburn leads our balance research programme investigating the causes and management of balance disturbance and falls, and how safe mobility can be achieved for people with Parkinson's disease and stroke using fall prevention technology, among other strategies. Upright posture is characteristic of human mobility and a fundamental part of everyday life. The control of posture and balance is a requirement for safe functional mobility, physical independence and everyday activities.

Our balance and fall research aims to enable people with neurological conditions to complete everyday activities, in particular functional mobility, and prevent unwanted events such as falls, using a range of balance research approaches and fall prevention technologies appropriate for current and future practice. Our ultimate aim is to enable safe functional mobility, while minimising unwanted secondary effects such as falls and injuries and the negative impact of deteriorating motor control on the quality of life of people with neurological conditions such as stroke and Parkinson's disease. The multifaceted nature of neurological conditions with ageing means that our research has a strong multidisciplinary and collaborative profile.

We are concerned with pragmatic interventions, health economics and long-term management utilising quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. One of our strengths has been the integration of basic science, social science research with rehabilitation science in a rehabilitation programme funded by the Stroke Association (Stroke Association Rehabilitation Research Centre, funded 2004 - 2010). Our randomised controlled trial of exercises, strategies and fall prevention technologies had the largest sample of people with Parkinson's disease when published in 2007.


Using dance to improve balance and reduce risk of falling for people w
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