Neurologic Research

Rehabilitation for Neurodegenerative Disease

Valerie Kelly primarily studies the interaction between cognition and mobility in people with Parkinson’s disease. Her current research projects examine how cognitive impairments impact the response to gait rehabilitation in people with Parkinson’s, with the goal of optimizing gait rehabilitation strategies for an individual’s cognitive abilities. She’s also working with the Pacific Udall Center to examine the relationship between genetic factors, cognitive dysfunction, and balance and gait impairments in people with Parkinson’s.

Patti Matsuda studies falls and fall prevention in older adults and those with neurologic diagnoses. She’s a core member of the International Multiple Sclerosis Falls Prevention Research Network, a group that investigates the factors associated with falls in people with multiple sclerosis and develops fall prevention strategies and interventions. In addition, through the University of Washington’s Healthy Aging & Physical Disability Rehabilitation Research and Training Center, Patti is studying falls in several neurologic populations, including people with multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injury and post-polio syndrome.

Ellen McGough studies the effects of exercise on motor and non-motor function in adults Alzheimer╩╝s disease and Parkinson's disease. She’s using laboratory-based and portable motion analysis technology to identify early functional markers of mobility-related disability. In collaboration with community partners, Ellen’s also studying the effects of force-paced aerobic exercise using tandem bicycles in people with Parkinson's disease.

Sujata Pradhan is researching how to leverage technology to develop objective measures of motor function and physical activity, with the goal of designing more effective interventions for people with Parkinson’s disease. Sujata’s current research projects explore the use of wearable technologies to assess physical activity in people with Parkinson’s and examine the effects of multi-modal exercise programs on cognitive and motor function in this group.

Brain-Computer Interfaces & Neurotechnology

Headed by associate professor Chet Moritz, the Moritz Lab develops neuroprosthetic technology for the treatment of paralysis and other movement disorders. Some of the lab’s current projects include developing techniques to bypass damaged areas of the nervous system and restore control of movement and sensation to the hand and arm; promoting recovery and perhaps regeneration of damaged neural tissue; and testing novel methods for physical therapy and rehabilitation of movement disorders.

The Moritz Lab is an integral part of the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering, a National Science Foundation-funded engineering research center that aims to improve people’s lives by connecting brains and technology.

Mobility

Patti Matsuda has developed outcome measures related to walking in the community for a variety of older adult and neurologic populations. She has also been instrumental in the development of the modified Dynamic Gait Index, a measure of the ability to adapt gait for complex walking tasks.

In her research, Cyndi Robinson examines the physical, environmental and personal factors associated with community walking following stroke. The goal is to identify the most important factors that predict participation in community walking so they can be addressed in rehabilitation programs. Her research also examines methods of measuring participation in community walking, specifically examining the association between subjective and objective measures of patient performance and progress.