Miranda Rennie MS, OTR/L
Faculty Mentor: Sook-Lei Liew PhD, OTR/L
Research Lab: Neural Plasticity and Neurorehabilitation Lab
Year of Entry: 2019
As an occupational therapist with clinical experience in adult neurologic rehabilitation, I am interested in exploring the neural mechanisms of stroke and identifying innovative ways to improve recovery for people experiencing stroke and other acquired brain injuries. In the NPNL, I currently support research projects investigating stress and other indicators of stroke recovery, as well as virtual reality as a modality for motor recovery.
Before beginning the PhD program at USC, I worked at The Ohio State University as an OT Neurologic Fellow through the AOTA Fellowship Program.
Master of Science (MS)
in Occupational Therapy
2018 | Towson University
Bachelor of Science (BS)
in Occupation & Well-Being
2017 | Towson University
Bachelor of Arts (BA)
in Foreign Languages (Spanish Concentration)
2017 | Towson University
Marin-Pardo, O., Laine, C. M., Rennie, M., Ito, K. L., Finley, J., & Liew, S.-L. (2020). A virtual reality muscle–computer interface for neurorehabilitation in chronic stroke: A pilot study. Sensors, 20(13), 3754. https://doi.org/10.3390/s20133754 Show abstract
Severe impairment of limb movement after stroke can be challenging to address in the chronic stage of stroke (e.g., greater than 6 months post stroke). Recent evidence suggests that physical therapy can still promote meaningful recovery after this stage, but the required high amount of therapy is difficult to deliver within the scope of standard clinical practice. Digital gaming technologies are now being combined with brain–computer interfaces to motivate engaging and frequent exercise and promote neural recovery. However, the complexity and expense of acquiring brain signals has held back widespread utilization of these rehabilitation systems. Furthermore, for people that have residual muscle activity, electromyography (EMG) might be a simpler and equally effective alternative. In this pilot study, we evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of an EMG-based variant of our REINVENT virtual reality (VR) neurofeedback rehabilitation system to increase volitional muscle activity while reducing unintended co-contractions. We recruited four participants in the chronic stage of stroke recovery, all with severely restricted active wrist movement. They completed seven 1-hour training sessions during which our head-mounted VR system reinforced activation of the wrist extensor muscles without flexor activation. Before and after training, participants underwent a battery of clinical and neuromuscular assessments. We found that training improved scores on standardized clinical assessments, equivalent to those previously reported for brain–computer interfaces. Additionally, training may have induced changes in corticospinal communication, as indexed by an increase in 12–30 Hz corticomuscular coherence and by an improved ability to maintain a constant level of wrist muscle activity. Our data support the feasibility of using muscle–computer interfaces in severe chronic stroke, as well as their potential to promote functional recovery and trigger neural plasticity.
Keywords: biofeedback; stroke; brain–computer interface; neurorehabilitation; corticomuscular coherence; electromyography; co-contraction; virtual reality
Eglseder, K., Webb, S., & Rennie, M. (2018). Sexual functioning in occupational therapy education: A survey of programs. The Open Journal of Occupational Therapy, 6(3). https://doi.org/10.15453/2168-6408.1446 Show abstract
Despite the importance of sexuality to overall quality of life and well-being for individuals with disabilities, occupational therapy practitioners continue to under-address this issue. One possibility for the lack of attention in this area is the comfort and knowledge level of practitioners. In their seminal work, Payne, Greer, and Corbin (1988) surveyed occupational therapy programs in the United States in an effort to identify the amount of sexuality education provided. This study was aimed at identifying current trends in the provision of sexuality education for occupational therapy students. Despite the nearly 30-year gap in this area of research, and the societal changes related to sexuality, findings suggest that there has been little advancement in the area of sexuality in occupational therapy curricula. Implications for occupational therapy practice and future education are discussed.