The department is engaged in several major clinical research areas, with multiple specific projects within each area:
Stroke and Neurological Rehabilitation
Research on motor control and on stroke recovery and rehabilitation are ongoing, with several projects in collaboration with the Motor Performance Laboratory within the Department of Neurology. Specific studies are examining the effects of earlier intervention in motor recovery after stroke, and the use of robotic devices to facilitate motor recovery after stroke.
Department faculty are studying gait abnormalities and exercise interventions in individuals with Huntington’s disease and other movement disorders. Collaborative research in developing new assistive devices for individuals with neuromuscular diseases is also ongoing.
Cardiopulmonary and Exercise Physiology
Research in cardiopulmonary and exercise physiology is under the direction of Dr. Matthew Bartels, and includes close collaboration with faculty in other departments, such as Pulmonary Medicine and Cardiology. Facilities include a muscle sympathetic nerve activity (MSNA) laboratory, and an OptoElectronicPlethysmography laboratory, a new technique for evaluation of pulmonary physiology and the mechanics of breathing. Specific projects are examining vascular reactivity and vascular inflammation in COPD, chemoreceptor sensitivity, the effects of circadian rhythms on hypertension, psychophysiological responses to stress, autonomic responses in Parkinson's Disease during exercise, and the effects of acupuncture on heart rate and blood pressure control.
Projects include examining the role of ultrasound as a diagnostic modality in shoulder pain, and outcomes after therapeutic injections.
Research includes studies of the use of robotic devices as an aid to motor retraining in cerebral palsy, and examining the utility of botulinum toxin for treatment of spasticity in children with pediatric stroke or cerebral palsy.