Research

The Department of Physical Therapy, Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences’ research mission is to build the evidence for best practices to maintain and improve the health and wellbeing of the local, national, and global community members.

Selected Publications from 2016

Sheehy L, Taillon-Hobson A, Sveistrup H, Bilodeau M, Fergusson D, Levac D, Finestone H. Does the addition of virtual reality training to a standard program of inpatient rehabilitation improve sitting balance ability and function after stroke? Protocol for a single-blind randomized controlled trial. BMC neurology. 2016;16(1):42. PMID: 27036515; PMCID: PMC4815206.

Hasson CJ, Gelina O, Woo G. Neural Control Adaptation to Motor Noise Manipulation. Frontiers in human neuroscience. 2016;10:59. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2016.00059. PubMed PMID: 26973487; PMCID: PMC4771770.

Morrison TR, Sikes RW, Melloni RH, Jr. Anabolic steroids alter the physiological activity of aggression circuits in the lateral anterior hypothalamus. Neuroscience. 2016;315:1-17. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2015.12.001. PubMed PMID: 26691962; PMCID: PMC4720269.

Trudeau MB, Asakawa DS, Jindrich DL, Dennerlein JT. Two-handed grip on a mobile phone affords greater thumb motor performance, decreased variability, and a more extended thumb posture than a one-handed grip. Appl Ergon. 2016;52:24-8. PubMed PMID: 26360191.

Iversen MD, von Heideken J, Farmer E, Rihm J, Heyworth BE, Kocher MS. Validity and Comprehensibility of Physical Activity Scales for Children With Sport Injuries. J Pediatr Orthop. 2016;36(3):278-83. PubMed PMID: 25851672.

2017 Tufts CTSI Pilot Award

Faculty member, Dr. Danielle Levac, has received a 2017 Tufts CTSI Pilot Award for her research project.

Title: Influence of virtual environment complexity on motor learning in children with cerebral palsy: Implications for virtual reality use in rehabilitation

Motion-controlled video games in virtual environments are popular alternative physical therapy interventions for balance skill learning in children with cerebral palsy (CP). Virtual environments (VEs) feature enriched aesthetics that deliver complex stimulation designed to maximize engagement and adherence, features which are lacking in traditional approaches. However, 50% of children with CP have attentional impairments that hinder motor learning. The cognitive demands of interacting with enriched VEs may explain the current inconclusive evidence base for learning balance skills. Our paradigm explores whether environmental enrichment enhances or impairs motor learning in children with CP by randomly assigning children to practice the same balance task in either a complex VE with enhanced audiovisual stimuli or a simplified control VE. Findings from this bench-to-bedside translational program will enhance the efficacy of this promising alternative to traditional physical therapy interventions.

Early Research/Creative Endeavor Awards

The following students received funding through the Early Research/Creative Endeavor Awards:

  • “Pilot Simulation Experience: Interprofessional Education Training for Motor Assessment” $500. Students: Allen, McEvoy, Duffy and Philbrick Faculty: Ann Golub-Victor
  • “Assessing Fall Risk in People With Intellectual Disabilities: A Community-Based Pilot Program” $600. Students: Mazzone, Dodman and Ross Faculty: Ann Golub-Victor and Diane Fitzpatrick
  • “A Comparison of the Immediate Effects of Gastrocnemius Stretching with and without Self-Myofascial Release on Ankle Kinematics and Range of Motion” $970.20.
    Student: Kristin Kapuza  Faculty: Marie Corkery
  • “Modulation of the Neural Activity in Cingulate Cortex by Thalamic Nuclei” $1010.
    Student: Andrew Paquette  Faculty: Bob Sikes

 

Faculty Member Receive 2016 APTA of MA Award

Dr. David Nolan received the APTA of MA 2016 Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Practice Award.

Two Tier 1 Seed Grants Awarded to PTMRS Faculty for FY2017

Dr. Sheng-Che Yen in collaboration with Dr. Deniz Erdogmus from the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the College of engineering, received an Interdisciplinary Tier 1 Seed Grant to fund their project titled “EEG-guided Robotic Mirror Therapy for Neurorehabilitation.” The goal of this project is to develop and test an innovative brain-interface controlled robotic system that synchronizes central and peripheral feedbacks. The long term objective of this proposed project is to improve lower extremity functions and walking in patients post stroke through integration of central neural feedback and peripheral sensory feedback.

Dr Dennerlein in collaboration with Drs. Alisa Lincoln and Steven Vallas from the Department of Sociology and Anthropology in the College of Social Sciences and Humanities received an Interdisciplinary Tier 1 Seed Grant to fund their project titled “Improving Mental Health and Wellbeing in Construction Workers: Understanding the role of work and the conditions of work.”  The project’s long term goal is to develop and test work-site and employer based programs to improve the mental health and wellbeing in construction workers within the Total Worker Health® framework. For this Tier 1 project, the objective is to obtain data necessary to develop and implement potential intervention programs that target work-related factors to improve worker mental health and wellbeing.

For more Tier 1 projects please see http://www.northeastern.edu/resdev/resources/internal-grants/tier-1-seed-grantproof-of-concept-program/fy17-tier-1-grant-recipients/

Contact Info
Eugene Tunik

Eugene Tunik, PhD, PT
Director of Research, Department of Physical Therapy, Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences
Office: 301B Robinson Hall
Phone: 617.373.2924
Email: e.tunik@northeastern.edu
Boston, MA 02115

Research Reports