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Current HMAL Projects

the Human Motion Analysis Laboratory is currently conducting the following research projects:

Attention and the Control of Walking:

For healthy individuals, the control of walking is not completely automatic but requires some degree of attention. Mobility in daily life often requires that a person walk while performing a concurrent cognitive or motor task such as talking to another person or carrying a plate of food, which places even greater demands on attentional resources. The goals of this research are:

  1. to examine the interactions between attention and walking
  2. to better understand how these interactions change as a result of aging or neurological pathology, such as Parkinson disease

These projects measure changes in cognitive task performance and walking when each task is performed in isolation (single task) and when they are performed concurrently (dual task). Changes in task performance and task prioritization are used to examine the allocation of attention under single task and dual task conditions.

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Functional Morphology:

Human walking is profoundly affected by the morphology of the elements that comprise the locomotor anatomy (pelvis and lower limbs). Understanding how variation in anatomy can affect walking is a goal that could allow for interventions in areas as disparate as sports biomechanics and surgical repair of traumatic injuries.

Normal variation, injuries and inherent pathologies to the lower limb (especially the foot and ankle) can have profound consequences for the ability of people to move in their environment, a fundamental activity of daily living. Footprint analysis, motion capture, SimMechanics (a module within Matlab) and kinematic/kinetic analysis are a key tools in this work.

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Grasping Biomechanics

Research in the area of grasping biomechanics includes clinical biomechanics of the lower and upper limb articulations such as the knee, shoulder and fingers. For example, research investigates how people grasp objects and then works to develop mechanisms that might replace some functions of the human hand.

Follow the link to learn more about research in grasping biomechanics.

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Sensorimotor Training for Balance:

The goal of this research is to develop and test a novel sensorimotor intervention for adults and children with neurological disorders who demonstrate balance problems that impact daily function. Efficient and automatic balance forms the basis for stability needed during many daily activities (e.g. attending and sitting in a classroom desk, navigating a complex environment, engaging in a team sport).

The goals of this research are to:

  1. Develop a new sensory-balance assessment and training program.
  2. Describe functional balance performance among adults and children with neurological disorders, relative to those without motor disability.
  3. Examine the feasibility and effects of sensorimotor training to improve use of sensory information during standing balance in adults and children with neurological disorders, such as traumatic brain injury and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders

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To learn more, please explore the links below:

Featured Research Articles

Traumatic Brain Injury

View the latest research articles on Traumatic Brain Injury written by faculty from the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine.

Volunteer to Participate in our Research Studies

The Department of Rehabilitation Medicine is looking for volunteers to participate in research studies on Multiple Sclerosis & Pain Management, and Traumatic Brain Injury.

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