Center for the study of Movement, Cognition and Mobility

Research & Development

Prof. Jeffrey M. Hausdorff
Laboratory Director

Prof. Jeffrey M. Hausdorff

Associate Director

Dr. Anat Mirelman

About the Laboratory

Our long-term goals are to minimize the negative impact of aging and neurological disease on motor control and function and to enhance the quality of life and function of older adults and patients suffering from neurological disease. More specifically, we aim:
1. to improve the understanding of the control of gait, balance mobility and other movement disorders in the context of aging, maturation, and neurological disease;
2. to develop new, sensitive tools for quantifying mobility, motor control, and motor-cognitive-interference in the clinic, lab, community and at-home settings; 
3. to develop novel therapeutic approaches to enhance motor control and mobility, to maximize functional independence, and to reduce the risk of falls among older adults, patients with Parkinson's disease, and other at-risk populations.

Research Services

A unique setup allows for the study of gait and mobility while subjects walk in diverse conditions that reflect rich and challenging daily living environments. These include: a) on a motorized medical treadmill with a harness, b) with or without the addition of a virtual reality environment, c) over-ground with a harness to prevent falls as subjects negotiate through a novel computer-controlled obstacle course, and d) long-term, “Holter-like” recording of gait and mobility using body-fixed sensors to assess community ambulation.

Equipment available includes an insole pressure distribution system for the evaluation of local loading of the foot inside a shoe or bare foot, gait monitoring equipment, video cameras, balance platforms, equipment for measuring upper and lower extremity movements, EMG equipment, an instrumented gait mat for quantifying the spatial and temporal parameters of gait, a functional near infrared spectroscopy system, and accelerometers and gyroscopes for long-term ambulatory monitoring.

The laboratory is also equipped with an array of computers and software for out-of-the box and tailor-made signal processing and nonlinear analyses. Analytical approaches include methods based on time series analyses, frequency domain, non-linear and fractal methods, and machine learning.

Based on data collected using wearable computers and body-fixed sensors, algorithms developed are designed to quantify and investigate: a) gait variability, b) missteps, c) falls, d) freezing of gait, e) arm swing, f) regularity, g) sit-to-stand, stand-to-sit and other transitions; h) turns; i) at-home activity; j) asymmetry and bilateral coordination; k) cognitive-motor interactions; l) drug effects.

Unique Contributions and Resources

Our lab has advanced the understanding of gait, balance and movement disorders in several areas. Papers on stride-to-stride variability and its relationship to fall risk reported novel insights into gait dynamics and fall risk and paved the way for many studies in this area.

Several of our key papers on gait dynamics were cited more than 100 times. We have also been instrumental in advancing the study of the relationship between mobility, mental health and cognitive function. We also generated new insights into the regulation of the bi-lateral coordination introducing a novel index for quantifying this aspect of motor control. Further, our research on virtual-reality based training in older adults and patients with Parkinson's disease has generated much interest and promises to lead to a paradigm shift in the treatment and rehabilitation of gait, mobility and cognition.

Example of 3-D

Unique resources include a research setting that allows us to carry out our research as an almost integral part of the clinic. The resultant diversity of research and clinical expertise has created an environment that cultivates the unraveling of the neuroscience of movement, mobility and related functions.
Other resources include novel software and hardware based on wearable computing and prospective data in patient and aging populations that can be used to investigate longitudinal changes in motor and cognitive control and to explore potential bio-markers of Parkinson's disease. Acceleration derived signals during 3 near falls, as labeled above, and during other gait intervals. A-C) Derivatives in three axes. D) Signal Vector Magnitude, calculated as the root of the square sums of the 3 axes acceleration signals, E) Vertical Maximal acceleration. F) Vertical maximum peak-to-peak acceleration derivative.

Outline of Methods and Approaches
• Clinical studies (prospective, longitudinal and cross-sectional)
• Ambulatory monitoring of gait and mobility (i.e., "wearable" devices for the automated detection and measurement of gait, balance and fall risk in the home setting)
• Imaging studies (e.g., DTI , fMRI, resting state connectivity, functional near infrared spectroscopy)
• Genetic studies (e.g., mutations of Parkinson's disease LRRK2 in relation to motor and non-motor functions)
• Pharmacologic investigations
• Virtual reality augmented treadmill training

Financial resources/ Grants

Recent research in the lab has been sponsored in part by the Israel Ministry of Healthy, the National Parkinson Foundation, the Israel Science Foundation, the Michal J Fox for Parkinson Research, the Israel Ministry of Veterans Affairs, The US National Institutes of Health, The European Union, The  Israeli Ministry of Absorption, and The Parkinson Disease Foundation. 

 

Team

 

Prof. Jeffrey M. Hausdorff is the Director of the CMCM at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, and in the Sagol School of Neuroscience, Tel Aviv University. He investigates gait, balance, motor control and motor-cognitive interactions in health and disease and, has made remarkable contributions to research in neuroscience and aging in Israel and worldwide. In 2000, he left his faculty appointment at Harvard Medical School to move to Israel, whereupon he established the Laboratory for Gait and Neurodynamics at Tel Aviv Medical Center, later to become the CMCM. Today, the internationally renowned team that he directs conducts pioneering clinical and translational research in mobility, cognitive function, fall risk, and quality of life.  The team’s active and prominent participation in many international forums and many cutting-edge findings help to advance science and medicine throughout the world.  Recently, they opened a unique outpatient clinic that enhances mobility and cognition, translating years of research into a novel and successful therapeutic service. Prof. Hausdorff serves in the position of associate editor for two internationally acclaimed journals and is a board member of the International Society of Posture and Gait Research. Prof. Hausdorff has successfully obtained  continuous funding from an array of competitive grant agencies,  attesting  to the high level of excellence and broad impact of the team’s research.

Dr. Anat Mirelman is the associate director and a senior researcher in CMCM. Dr. Mirelman completed her PhD in 2007, which focused on technology for the treatment of gait disorders. Her work focuses on motor and  cognitive function in neurodegenerative disorders, the understanding of reserve capacity and predictive measures for neurodegeneration, and the development of innovative technology to enhance function. In addition, Dr. Mirelman  heads a research team investigating genetics in Parkinson’s disease and biomarkers for disease.  Dr. Mirelman has developed a training technique using virtual reality to improve mobility in a variety of older adults.  Based on this research, TASMC  has opened a unique clinical service for the benefits of patients. Dr. Mirelman has been affiliated with Ben Gurion University and Harvard Medical School.


Talia Herman is an experienced physiotherapist who received her MSc.PT degree from Tel Aviv University in 2002. Since 2000 she has been working in research at CMCM, and the Movement Disorders Unit at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center. She is currently completing  her PhD degree  at the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Graduate School of Medicine, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University. Her PhD research investigates the underlying mechanisms behind the development of Parkinson's disease clinical subtypes. Her research interests includes the study of the mechanisms of neurodegeneration and  motor and cognitive interactions in ageing and neuruodegeneration.

Moran Dorfman is a physiotherapist who received her MSc PT degree with honors from Ben Gurion University in 2014. Since 2010 she has been working in CMCM. For her master thesis research, Moran evaluated the effects of dual task training on gait and cognitive funciton in elderly idiopathic fallers. Her research focuses on new interventions for patients with Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders.

Gon Shoham graduated from Tel Aviv University with a B.Sc. in electrical engineering. He specialized in control and computer science. At present, Gon is studying medicine at the Sackler Medical School, Tel Aviv University.  Since 2012, he is part of the junior faculty at the Tel Aviv University School of Engineering; he guides an energy conversion laboratory and advanced laboratory in computer communications.   In 2013, Gon  joined the CMCM  where he will be pursuing PhD research,  utilizing his knowledge of medicine and engineering to develop systems that detect and quantify motor function and cognition in aging and neurodegenerative diseases.  

Yoav Beck is a Marie Curie Fellow in the Moving Beyond program. His research efforts focus on building and validating motor indices and markers to measure disease progression in Parkinson’s disease. Yoav originally studied pure Mathematics, obtaining a  B.sC. from Paul Sabatier University, Toulouse, France and his M.A. from Stony Brook University, NY, USA. Afterwards, he diverged towards biology, receiving an MRes in System Biology from UCL, London, UK. In his current work, Yoav applies his math background to a clinical problem.

Ziv Sberlo is physical therapist with many years of patient care. Ziv plays a pivotal role as a research assistant and administrative manager of our virtual reality clinical service.

Tal Iluz received her B.Sc. degree in electrical engineering in Bar Ilan University in 2011. Since graduating, she has been working in the CMCM at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center as an electrical engineer. Her research involves the development of algorithms for objectively characterizing gait and movement analysis in order to improve the detection, assessment and treatment of movement and mobility in patients with Parkinson’s disease and older adults. Her area of expertise includes the application of machine learning methods and the analysis of signals derived from body fixed sensors (e.g., acceleration, magnetometer, gyroscope).

Aner Weiss, is an Electrical Engineer, developing biomedical algorithms in the CMCM. Currently she is pursuing an M.S. degree in biomedical engineering at the Technion Institute of Technology. Aner’s areas of expertise include gait and movement analysis, both in clinic and in free-living conditions, movement disorders assessment, Parkinson's disease and fall risk assessment and signal processing.  Aner is proficient in Matlab to analyze biomedical signals derived from body fixed sensors. Her work includes continuous and episodic movement detection, feature extraction, statistical analysis as well as machine learning, clustering and classification focusing on developing objective tools for gait and movement assessment for clinicians and researchers.


Marina Brozgol completed her B.Sc. in Physiotherapy at the Tel Aviv University and M.A. in Gerontology at the Haifa University.   Her master's thesis investigated  the empirical study of  longevity and quality of life of the elderly population in Israel. Since graduating, she has been working as a study coordinator at CMCM. As a clinician, she assesses and trains patients with different neurological conditions. Marina’s  research focuses on the well-being and quality of life from the perspectives of older adults and patients with neurological conditions and on finding treatment approaches that may improve quality of life in older adults. 

 

Hagar Elazari received her B.Sc in Biomedical engineering from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. There she specialized in biomechanics and signal processing. Since 2012, Hagar has been working in the CMCM at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center as a Biomedical Engineer. Her research involves the development of algorithms of gait and movement analysis to improve the assessment and treatment of movement and mobility in patients with Parkinson’s disease and older adults. Her area of expertise include the analysis of signals derived from body fixed sensors (e.g., acceleration, magnetometer, gyroscope), and functional Near- Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) techniques- a tool for measuring the oxygenation status and hemodynamics of the brain.

 

Inbal Maidan is a physiotherapist who received the MSc.PT degree from Tel Aviv University in 2009. She is currently pursuing a PhD degree at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, Department of Rehab and Movement Science, Rutgers University, NJ, USA. Since 2008 she has been working in research at the CMCM in Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center. Her PhD investigates the neural brain networks underlying obstacle negotiation and gait in everyday environments.

 


Lior Ravid received his BioMedical Engineering B.Sc degree from AFEKA - academic college of engineering. There he specialized in mechanics of physiological systems, image processing and clinical engineering.  Lior joined the CMCM at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center in an effort to generate an automatic algorithm for the classification and mapping of a subject’s activity and movement. This special project is designed to work with a novel, computer controlled obstacle course. Lior is developing methods for the tracking of subjects utilizing the Kinect sensors for the extraction of critical obstacle negotiation parameters.

 


Ariel Tankus is a Senior Researcher and a neurophysiologist at CMCM and at the Functional Neurosurgery Unit, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center (TASMC) and a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Neurology, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University.  Dr. Tankus received his B.Sc in Mathematics and Computer Science (Magna Cum Laude; 1994), and M.Sc (Summa Cum Laude; 1996) and Ph.D in Computer Science (2005), focusing on computer vision, from Tel Aviv Univesity.  Since his post-doctoral fellowship at UCLA, Dr. Tankus has focused on motor-cognitive processes at the level of single neurons in humans, and in particular on the neuronal representation of gait, speech and visuomotor coordination.  For this, he played a major role in the establishment of a unique laboratory for chronic recordings of single neuron activity in the human brain, headed by Prof. Itzhak Fried.  This laboratory is the only one of its kind in Israel, and one of a very few in the world.  Dr. Tankus also has begun to study epilepsy patients implanted, for clinical reasons, with depth electrodes or subdural grids or strips.  In addition, Dr. Tankus established in TASMC a single-neuron setup for intra-operative experiments with movement disorders patients (e.g., Parkinson's disease patients) implanted with deep brain stimulator (DBS).


Eran Gazit
received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in electrical engineering and M.Sc in biomedical engineering from Tel Aviv University. There he specialized in signal and image processing. Since 2011, Eran has been working in the CMCM at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center as a Biomedical Engineer. His research involves the development of algorithms and medical devices such as those based on machine learning, virtual reality and Smartphone applications to improve the assessment and treatment of movement and mobility in patients with Parkinson’s disease and older adults.


Keren Rosenberg-Katz completed her PhD in Tel Aviv University. She used fMRI and intracranial EEG to identify the brain network related to internally generated actions. Dr. Rosenberg-Katz joined CMCM  after her PhD and since then she has focused on  studying  the neural correlates underlying gait and movement in older adults and in Parkinson's disease using imaging methods such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI and fMRI) and Near Infra-Red Spectroscopy.

Pablo Bezalel is a physiotherapist with a MSc in Medicine and Sport Science. Pablo has worked as a sports physiotherapist and lecturer in different universities in Chile. He has been working at CMCM  in Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center since 2012 when he made aliya. In CMCM, Pablo focuses on interventions to improve motor and cognitive function in older adults and patients with neurodegeneration. In addition, Pablo serves as the physical therapist of the Bnei Herzlya Handball Team.

Shirley R. Shema-Shiratzky is a physiotherapist who received her BPT with honors from Ben Gurion University in 2011. Since graduating she has been working as a study coordinator at CMCM. At the Virtual Reality clinic, she works as an assessor and trainer of older adults with gait and balance disorders. Shirley is also currently pursuing  her Master's degree, studying the effects of motor-cognitive training using Virtual Reality in children with ADHD.

Yael Jacob completed her B.Sc. in Physics and M.A. in Neuroscience at the Tel Aviv University.  Currently, she is a PhD student at the Sagol School of Neuroscience at Tel Aviv University. Since 2010, Yael has been working as a  researcher  in the CMCM at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center. Her research interests include analysis of complex systems, functional connectivity, signal processing and graph theory. The imaging methods she works on are fMRI and EEG. Yael is interested in testing the brain networks correlates of behavioral neurodynamics and pathological states, such as in Parkinson's disease.

 

Publications

For a listing of recent publications, refer to PubMed, a service provided by the National Library of Medicine

Examples of International collaborations:

Contact information

Phone: + 972-3-6974958

Fax: + 972-3-6977514

Email: gaitlab@hotmail.com


Location

Sourasky Building, Ground Floor, wing F

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