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Think Therapy 1st OT shortlisted for major award

Steph Fleet has been recognised for her client-focused work and expertise in pain management



An occupational therapist at Think Therapy 1st has been shortlisted for a major industry award. 

Clinical lead OT Steph Fleet has been named as a finalist in the Advancing Healthcare Awards 2022, having been shortlisted in the Rising Star category. 

Steph’s shortlisting comes in recognition of her commitment to clients and delivery of evidence-based outcomes, as well as her expertise in pain management, which has seen her redefine TT1’s specialist pain offering. 

Since joining TT1st, Steph has played a transformational role in its Holistic Education for Living with Pain (HELP) pain programme, recently overseeing its relaunch as a multi-disciplinary approach. 

The programme had run previously as an occupational therapy service, but its new format will continue to  deliver life-changing outcomes for people with the support of an MDT which also brings in psychology and physiotherapy. 

“The amazing work Steph has done in revitalising our pain programme and turning it into a multi-disciplinary approach is phenomenal,” said Helen Merfield, managing director of TT1st. 

“Her work with clients is equally impressive and always yields fantastic results.”

Steph, whose colleagues nominated her secretly, said: “I was absolutely blown away when I received an email to say that I had made the finals, I didn’t know anything about the application. 

“I love the work I do and am so proud and honoured to be part of the TT1st team. I feel the whole team are rising stars as everyone goes above and beyond and truly supports each other.”

Clients and referrers were also keen to voice their praise of Steph. 

Stephen Gower, a client of Steph’s from Somerset, who was seriously injured when he was knocked off his bicycle on Christmas Eve 2020, said Steph has been “invaluable” to his recovery. 

“I wasn’t sure that I would get over it, I was putting on a brave face but inside I was so anxious and worried, just dwelling on everything – but then Steph came into my life in March 2021 and the help she gave me in those early days was invaluable,” he said. 

“When she arrived, she filled the room with her energy, she makes you feel better about yourself when she is around. 

“She is so knowledgeable about stuff and always explains things simply – as my mum used to say, “She’s sharp as a pin”, and she’s so in tune that she sometimes knows what I need before I do!

“She really has helped me put my life back together, and I’m not sure what I would have done without her.

“I can’t tell you how pleased I was to hear that Steph had made it to the finals of this award, she so deserves it.” 

A senior insurance claims manager from a large insurer who refers work to TT1st said Steph is “inspirational” for her clients. 

“She takes time to understand their needs and then is a passionate advocate to get them the support they require,” she said. 

“She makes a real difference to their lives and will tailor solutions specifically to their needs – each person gets a unique solution that delivers for them.

“Steph is very easy to work with and I and my team know that we can trust her judgement which is key to delivering the right results.”

Philip Coulthurst, managing director at Coulthurst Solcitors, added that he is “indebted” to the opponent who first introduced him to Steph at TT1st. 

“Steph did an amazing job with a challenging client who had suffered a brain injury.  She was struggling to come to terms with her injury, was in denial, very secretive and would resist any intervention and treatment that did not fit her belief system,” he recalls. 

“With Steph’s involvement, we saw a step-change in this young woman’s engagement that we had not seen previously.  Building this relationship, creating trust and developing a client-centric plan that this young woman engaged with would have been no mean feat.

“I must say I was somewhat surprised to learn that Steph was ‘only’ 5 years PQE.  In my view, she certainly operates well above her weight if measured simply by years on the job.” 

The Advancing Healthcare Awards ceremony will be held on April 8th at a ceremony in London. 

“We are absolutely thrilled that Steph has made the finals, she is definitely a worthy winner – fingers crossed for April 8th,” added Helen. 


Royal Rehab opens Australia’s largest technology centre

The centre caters for people living with disabilities across the country



Royal Rehab, Australia’s not-for-profit provider of rehabilitation and disability support services, opens the country’s largest technology centre, providing Australians with access to a comprehensive range of technology.

Royal Rehab’s Advanced Technology Centre is a purpose-built hub designed to improve the rehabilitation outcomes of people impacted by life changing illnesses or injuries. The centre also caters for people living with disabilities, by providing expert support and access to technologies that aim to improve function, strength and wellbeing and is the largest of its kind in Australia.

The C-Mill VR+ technology combines a treadmill with body weight supports and virtual and augmented reality to improve balance, gait, and gait adaptability in a controlled environment. The device provides a safe and comfortable training environment that mimics the challenges of real-life, helping users to navigate situations like walking in crowded areas and avoiding obstacles.

The centre is also home to a Zero G Gait and Balance System, which has the longest walking track in the country. This device is a robotic body weight support that is designed to assist those affected by spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, neurological conditions and degenerative conditions to walk.

It allows falls prevention training to minimise patient risk, so they can focus on regaining their confidence in walking, balancing, climbing stairs and manoeuvring from sitting to standing positions.

Matt Mackay, CEO of Royal Rehab, believes technology can play a significant role in unlocking better patient outcomes and that the opening of Royal Rehab’s Advanced Technology Centre will make innovative technology more accessible.

“We know that the use of technology in combination with traditional therapies has the potential to drive better outcomes,” he says. “This will revolutionise the rehabilitation pathway for many patients, which in turn can lead to dramatic changes in a person’s quality of life.

“Our Advanced Technology Centre provides Australians with the opportunity to access potentially life-changing devices, many of which have never been accessible in Australia until now. We are delighted to be able to provide patients access to emerging advanced technologies that has the potential to accelerate rehabilitation progress and help people to improve their function, mobility and strength, the CEO adds.

“We want to provide people living with a long-term disability access to these technologies, so they too can benefit from improved strength and fitness, and maintain or even improve their functional independence.”

Jason Redhead, senior physiotherapist and technology lead at Royal Rehab, says that the centre offers Australian patients exclusive access to advanced technologies that will provide greater opportunities to achieve their rehabilitation goals, adding: “We have seen that advanced technology is starting to play a leading role in rehabilitation programs in many other countries.

“We want to ensure Australians too can access the best technology, like robotic exoskeletons, body weight support systems, upper limb robotics and virtual reality technologies. This means we will see more patients achieve more in their rehabilitation goals.”

The centre operates under the Royal Rehab LifeWorks banner, which provides Australians with access to a multidisciplinary team of allied health clinicians who work together with patients and clients on their individualised goals to develop integrated therapy and wellness programmes.

Royal Rehab’s Advanced Technology Centre is located at their Ryde location and will open its doors on July 1. Access to the centre is covered under a range of funding options, including NDIS, iCare, and self-funding.

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Neuro Convention returns next week

The event brings together neuro-rehab professionals and leading organisations from across the UK



Neuro-rehab professionals and organisations will be attending one of the key dates in the sector calendar next week – Neuro Convention 2022. 

The event showcases the latest technology and innovations in the neurological sector, with the goal of improving patient outcomes. 

Neuro Convention, held on Wednesday and Thursday at the NEC Birmingham, will focus on four key areas – rehabilitation, mental health, diagnostics and brain and spinal injury. 

The free event includes a programme of more than 50 free CPD-accredited seminars, hosted by leading experts from across neuro-rehab, as well as interactive workshops hosted by the specialist neuro-rehab team at the University of Plymouth. 

Technology will also be showcased, with a programme of live demonstrations, to show how the latest innovation can benefit people’s lives. 

More than 50 exhibitors will also be in attendance, including the team from NR Times, who can be found on stand N-G3. 

Neuro Convention will be co-located with Naidex and UK Care Week within the NEC, highlighting the shared dedication of all three events to improve mobility and the technology introduced to support independent living.

Deborah Johnson, editor of NR Times, who will be attending Neuro Convention, said: “Neuro Convention is known as being one of the must-attend events in the neuro-rehab calendar, and 2022 looks to be another excellent event, with a packed programme of speakers and workshops and an array of leading exhibitors. 

“It’s absolutely fantastic that the opportunities for the neuro-rehab sector to come together again in person are returning, and I’m personally looking forward to meeting as many people as possible – those who are new to NR Times, others who are old friends, and those who to date we have only met via Zoom!” 

Tickets are free and to register, visit here. 


Dates & Times 

Wednesday 6th July 2022 | 09:30 – 16:30

Thursday 7th July 2022 | 09:30 – 16:00 

Venue Address 

Hall 19

National Exhibition Centre (NEC)


B40 1NT, UK

Social links #NeuroCon

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Role of sleep in memory and learning uncovered

Research findings could aid development of assistive tools for people with neurological injury or disease



New research into sleep may help explain how memories are formed and how learning is consolidated, and could aid the development of assistive tools for people affected by neurological injury or disease. 

Scientists previously studying laboratory animals discovered a phenomenon known as ‘replay’ that occurs during sleep – a strategy the brain uses to remember new information. 

Scientists believe that this replay of neuronal firing during sleep is how the brain practices newly-learned information, which allows a memory to be consolidated, and converted from a short-term memory to a long-term one. 

However, replay has only been convincingly shown in lab animals.

Now, a new study has investigated whether replay occurs in the human motor cortex — the brain region that governs movement — focusing on a 36-year-old man with tetraplegia who cannot move his upper and lower limbs due to a spinal cord injury. 

The man, identified in the study as T11, is a participant in a clinical trial of a brain-computer interface device that allows him to use a computer cursor and keyboard on a screen.

The investigational device being developed by the BrainGate consortium, a collaborative effort involving clinicians, neuroscientists and engineers at several institutions with the goal of creating technologies to restore communication, mobility, and independence for people with neurologic disease, injury, or limb loss.

In the study, T11 was asked to perform a memory task similar to the electronic game Simon, in which a player observes a pattern of flashing coloured lights, then has to recall and reproduce that sequence. 

He controlled the cursor on the computer screen simply by thinking about the movement of his own hand. Sensors implanted in T11’s motor cortex measured patterns of neuronal firing, which reflected his intended hand movement, allowing him to move the cursor around on the screen and click it at his desired locations. 

These brain signals were recorded and wirelessly transmitted to a computer.

That night, while T11 slept at home, activity in his motor cortex was recorded and wirelessly transmitted to a computer.

“What we found was pretty incredible,” said Dr Daniel Rubin, lead author and a neurologist at the MGH Center for Neurotechnology and Neurorecovery. 

“He was basically playing the game overnight in his sleep.

“This is the most direct evidence of replay from motor cortex that’s ever been seen during sleep in humans.”

Most of the replay detected in the study occurred during slow-wave sleep, a phase of deep slumber. 

Interestingly, replay was much less likely to be detected while T11 was in REM sleep, the phase most commonly associated with dreaming. 

The researchers see this work as a foundation for learning more about replay and its role in learning and memory in humans.

“Our hope is that we can leverage this information to help build better brain-computer interfaces and come up with paradigms that help people learn more quickly and efficiently in order to regain control after an injury,” said neurologist Dr Sydney S. Cash, co-director of the Center for Neurotechnology and Neurorecovery at MGH.

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