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Case reports
Original research papers

Abstracts of theses and disertations

Audit report

Sharing good practice

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Syn'apse is pleased to accept case reports that provide information on interesting or unusual patients, which may encourage other practitioners to reflect on their own practice and clinical reasoning. It is recognised that case studies are usually written up retrospectively. The maximum length is 3,000 words and the following structure is suggested:

Title - this should be concise and reflect the key content of the case report

Introduction - this sets the scene giving background to the topic, and why you consider this case to be important, for example what is new or different about it? A brief overview of the literature or the incorporation of a few references is useful so people can situate the case study against what already is known.

The patient – give a concise description of the patient and condition that shows the key physiotherapeutic, biomedical and psychosocial features. Give the patient a name, but not their own name; photographs of the patient will need to be accompanied by explicit permission for them to be used. Only relevant information to the patients’ problem should be included.

Intervention/method - describe what you did, how the patient progressed and the outcome. Aims, treatment, outcomes, clinical reasoning and the patient’s level of satisfaction should be addressed. Indications of time scales need to be considered.

Implications for practice – discuss the knowledge gained, linking back to the aims/purpose, and to published research findings. Consider insights for treatment of similar patients, and potential for application to other conditions.

Summary – list the main lessons to be drawn from this example. Limitations should be clearly stated, and suggestions made for clinical practice.

References – the Harvard style of referencing should be followed (please see Preparation of editorial material)


These should not exceed 4,000 words and papers should include the following headings:

Abstract (maximum of 300 words)


Method – to include design, participants, materials and procedure



Conclusion – including implications for practice



Abstracts from research (undergraduate and postgraduate) projects, presentations or posters will be welcomed. They should be up to 500 words, and broadly follow the conventional format; introduction, purpose, method, result, discussion, conclusion.


A report which contains examination of the method, results, analysis, conclusions of audit relating to neurology and physiotherapy, using any method or design. This could include a Service Development Quality Assurance report of changes in service delivery aimed at improving quality. These should be up to 2,000 words.


This Syn'apse feature aims to spread the word amongst ACPIN members about innovative practice or service developments. The original format for this piece started as a question and answer session, covering the salient points of the topic, along with a contact name of the author for readers to pursue if they wish. Questions were loosely framed around the following aspects (this would be for an audit):

What was the driving force to initiate it?

How did you go about it?

What measurements did you use?

What resources did you need?

What did you learn about the process?

How has it changed your service?

However recent editions have moved away from this format, and provide a fuller picture of their topic eg Introducing a management pack for stroke patients in nursing homes (Dearlove H in Autumn 2007), An in-service development education programme working across three different hospitals (Fisher J in Spring 2006), A therapy led bed service at a community hospital (Ramaswamy B in Autumn 2008) and Establishing an early supported discharge team for stroke (Dunkerley A in Spring 2008).


A short appraisal of up to 500 words, used to bring new or redesigned equipment to the notice of readers. This may include a description of a mechanical or technical device used in assessment, treatment management or education to include specifications and summary evaluation. Please note, ACPIN and Syn'apse take no responsibility of these products, it is not an endorsement of the product.


Course, book or journal reviews relevant to neuro physiotherapy are always welcome. Word count should be around 500. This section should reflect the wealth of events and lectures held by the ACPIN Regions every year.

Other regular features


This is a flexible space in Syn'apse that features a range of topics and serves to offer different perspectives on subjects. Examples have been a stroke survivor’s own account, an insight into physiotherapy behind the Paralympics and the topics of research, evidence and clinical measurement.


This is the newest feature for Syn'apse, where an ACPIN member takes ‘5 minutes’ to interview well-known professionals about their views and influences on topics of interest to neuro physiotherapists. We are always keen to receive suggestions of individuals who would be suitable to feature.

Preparation of editorial material

Copies should be produced in Microsoft Word. Wherever possible diagrams and tables should be produced in electronic form, eg excel, and the software used clearly identified.

The first page should include:

The title of the article

The name of the author(s)

A complete name and address for correspondence

Professional and academic qualifications for all authors and their current positions

For original research papers, a brief note about each author that indicates their contribution and a summary of any funds supporting their work.

All articles should be well organised and written in simple, clear, correct English. The positions of tables and charts or photographs should be appropriately titled and numbered consecutively in the text.

All photographs or line drawings should be at least 5”x 7”

All abbreviations must be explained

References should be listed alphabetically, in the Harvard style.
eg Pearson MJT et al (2009) Validity and inter-rater reliability of the Lindop Parkinson’s Disease Mobility Assessment: a preliminary study Physiotherapy (95) pp126-133.

If the article mentions an outcome measure, appropriate information about it should be included, describing measuring properties and where it may be obtained.

Permissions and ethical certification; either provide written permission from patients, parents or guardians to publish photographs of recognisable individuals, or obscure facial features. For reports of research involving people, written confirmation of informed consent is required.

Submission of articles

An electronic and hard copy of each article should be sent with a covering letter from the principal author stating the type of article being submitted, releasing copyright, confirming that appropriate permissions have been obtained, or stating what reprinting permissions are needed.

For further information please contact the Syn'apse editor:

Praveen Kumar



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