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Celebrating 30 years of CI Therapy

  • December 20, 2017

On November 14, 2017, Dr. Edward Taub’s colleagues held a celebration in his honor at the Spain Rehabilitation Center entitled A 30 Year Milestone: Celebrating the Advances in CI Therapy.

In 1986, Edward Taub, Ph.D., was recruited to UAB from the Institute of Behavioral Research in Washington, D.C. At that time, the conventional wisdom in the field of rehabilitation was that people who suffered a stroke or other brain injury reached their maximum level of improvement about a year after the event, and that from then on, the motor capacity in that patient was not modifiable. Yet. Dr. Taub and his research team were soon to up-end this traditional understanding. His reseach on brain plasticity and rehabilitation would have a fundamental and comprehensive effect on the recovery of victims of stroke, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, and other challenges.  

Over the next several years, Taub and his research group would develop a rehabilitation technique now known as Constraint-Induced Movement therapy. Today, more than 600 papers have been published on CI Therapy in its various forms. Notably, the treatment was the subject of the first multi-center randomized clinical trial for upper extremity stroke rehabilitation funded by NIH. Longstanding leaders in Dr. Taub’s UAB research group include Gitendra Uswatte, Ph.D., Associate Director and Professor of Psychology; Victor Mark, M.D., Medical Director and Associate Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in the School of Medicine; David Morris, P.T., Ph.D., Chair and Professor of Physical Therapy in the School of Health Professions; and Staci McKay, Project Coordinator.

Simply stated, CI Therapy is a family of treatments that teach the brain to "rewire" itself following an injury. The foundations for CI Therapy arose out of Dr. Taub’s discovery that much of the loss in function in a limb after a brain injury is the result of “learned non-use,” and that by combining the restraint of the unaffected limb and the intensive use of the affected limb, this learned non-use can be “unlearned.” Learn more about CI Therapy.

On November 14, 2017, Dr. Taub’s colleagues held a celebration in his honor at the Spain Rehabilitation Center entitled A 30 Year Milestone: Celebrating the Advances in CI Therapy. Speakers at the event included Amie McLain, M.D., Chair and Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in the School of Medicine and Director of the UAB Spinal Cord Injury Model System; Cathy Newhouse, O.T., M.B.A., Founding Manager of Taub Therapy Clinic and Director of Rehabilitation Services; Angi Griffin, M.A., OTR/L, Supervisor of the Pediatric CI Therapy Outpatient Program and Coordinator of Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy Outpatient Services at Children’s of Alabama; Robert Palazzo, Ph.D., Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Dr. Uswatte.

Other attendees included Dr. Taub and his wife Mildred Taub, Pam Benoit, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost; Jordan DeMoss, Senior Associate Vice President of UAB Medicine; Sylvie Mrug, Ph.D., Interim Chair of the Department of Psychology; and William Ferniany, Ph.D., CEO of the UAB Health System.