Current Research Projects

ArmSense

Parkinson's disease (PD) leads to progressive movement problems that affect safety and independence, including slow walking and movement, short shuffling steps, tremor, rigidity, and balance loss. These problems may be exacerbated by sensory or processing impairments, decreasing a person’s awareness of their own movements. Therapy treatment use external cuing to compensate for this loss, but any movement improvements disappear soon after the cues are stopped. ArmSense is a portable arm swing feedback device to cue larger movements even outside the clinic, providing consistent feedback for larger movements at home and in the community.

read more

Sensory Processing and Balance Control During Walking in Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is characterized by its progressive movement problems, but deficits in sensory function and processing can exacerbate these problems and have a negative impact on balance and function. By using movements of an immersive visual scene and electrical stimulation to the vestibular system, we can provide sensory stimulation that challenges a person’s sense of balance. We can then track and quantify the balance response through infrared motion-capture video, pressure on a force plate, and electromyographic (EMG) activity. To understand these deficits in the larger context of function and rehabilitation, we look for relationships between balance responses and self-reported balance confidence and quality of life.

read more