Develop novel treatments to enhance gait, and cognition. We aim to prevent falls and reduce the risk of other disabling conditions
We have shown that safe ambulation requires cognitive functions including dual tasking, planning, and scanning. To improve the motor and cognitive skills required for safe ambulation, we integrated a virtual reality environment with a treadmill paradigm. Ongoing studies examine its potential to improve gait and cognition in several cohorts including elderly fallers patients with Parkinson’s disease and children with ADHD.
In the EC funded CuPiD project, we and our collaborators developed a system that provides users with personalized gait training. Body worn sensors measure the user’s walking and a Smartphone-based algorithm processes the signals in real-time to provide feedback. The system acts like a personal trainer. If the user’s walking pattern is good, she receives encouragement and positive reinforcement. If the walking pattern needs correcting, specific suggestions are given to the user by the system. Initial results demonstrate that this is a promising tool for improving gait and function.
Computer-based exercises apparently can improve certain aspects of cognition and thinking, imparting neuro-plasticity. Given the motor-cognitive interactions that have observed, we are exploring the potential of expanding this concept to examine how cognitive remediation affects motor function, walking and fall risk.
Non-invasive brain stimulation is applied to more fully investigate cause and effect relationships between cognitive function and motor impairments and to investigate potential new therapeutic tools. In one study, we are examining the effects of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) on gait alterations common to people with Parkinson's disease. For study details, please e-mail: email@example.com
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