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Stroke recovery is a priority for communities in Singapore

Sandra Billinger, Ph.D., will train health care professionals in Singapore and advise health officials on best practices for prescribing exercise across all aspects of stroke recovery.

According to the National Neuroscience Institute, a member of the SingHealth group, the number of people having a stroke is on the rise in Singapore, especially among adults aged 40 to 59 years. Stroke strikes about 8,300 people in Singapore every year. Around one in four are under 60 years old, when they are reaching the peak of their careers and busy caring for family members.

Despite the international recommendations and evidence, exercise testing for people post-stroke does not exist in Singapore. This is due to the lack of expertise, equipment and medical support. To address this service gap, Singapore General Hospital wants to expand their current exercise testing services for chronic conditions to include those with disabilities from stroke in collaboration with the Department of Neurology at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

To help address this issue, Shamala Thilarajah, Ph.D., a senior principal physiotherapist at Singapore General Hospital, submitted an application to Singapore’s Minister for Health Ong Ye Kung, to bring an internationally renowned expert to Singapore.

Billinger Identified as the Expert

Sandra Billinger potraitSandra Billinger, Ph.D., professor and vice chair for stroke translational research in the Department of Neurology at the University of Kansas Medical Center, is a world-renowned expert in exercise, brain health and stroke recovery. She also serves as director of the Research in Exercise and Cardiovascular Health (REACH) laboratory, leads several multi-site National Institutes of Health-funded trials and industry-sponsored research studies, and is assistant director of the Neuroimaging Core at the University of Kansas Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.

She will travel more than 9,400 miles this spring to teach health care professionals how to monitor and safely conduct a submaximal exercise test that she developed at KU Medical Center, designed specifically for people post-stroke. She will then work with their clinical team to interpret the results, prescribe exercise during inpatient rehabilitation and then integrate exercise into community stroke recovery programs.

“I am honored to participate in this training,” said Billinger. “You never imagine when you start your career that your research will have a global impact.”

Billinger said each stroke is unique and every individual has specific needs to address after a stroke. “A stroke is an attack on the brain,” she said. “What is good for the heart is good for the brain. I am excited to work with the amazing teams in Singapore to improve the implementation of exercise into transitions of care across their country.” 

KU School of Medicine

University of Kansas Medical Center
Department of Neurology
Mailstop 2012
3901 Rainbow Blvd.
Kansas City, KS 66160
Phone: 913-588-6970
Fax: 913-588-6965