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Enhancing human mobility

There are two major research thrusts of the Human Mobility Lab: fall prevention and enhancing arm function. Our main objective is to work with clinicians to enhance rehabilitation strategies at the hospital, clinic, and home. Below you will find an overview of our research projects. Please contact Dr. Honeycutt if you are interested in learning more about our research. We embrace collaborations and look forward to hearing from you. For a recent interview and overview of Dr. Honeycutt’s new research at ASU see: Enhancing Human Mobility

A BALANCING ACT – A VACCINE AGAINST FALLS?

Falls are one of the most common medical complications in older adults and neurological disease and injury patients. While many of us have fallen in our youth, falls in older adults are associated with significant disability, long and difficult rehabilitation, and death. Our primary objective is to understand what causes falls, identify those people most likely to fall, and develop interventions to prevent falling. Dr. Honeycutt’s long term goal is to develop an effective and time-efficient therapy program that individuals can go to the clinic or possibly their own gym to complete. The hope is that this treatment can act like a “vaccine” against falls.

We have a state-of-the-art system for the evaluation of balance, gait, and falls. An instrumented, split-belt treadmill with an integrated virtual reality environment allows detailed kinematic and kinetic measurements. In addition to this system, we have a fully equipped gait lab for evaluating gait, trips, and slips in a more natural environment. As part of a collaborative group of scientists at ASU including Thumon Lockhart and Jimmy Abbas, we strive to enhance mobility of all adults.

STARTLING INSIGHTS

The Human Mobility Lab’s second major thrust is aimed at understanding motor planning during reaching and grasping movement. Movement is made up of two distinctive phases: planning and execution. The startle reflex is a new, non-invasive probe that allows us to evaluate the planning process in humans and patient populations. Further, this tool also allows us to evaluate the role of the brainstem in movement planning – something that until recently was only possible with complex electrophysiological recordings in animals. We use robots, virtual reality systems, and electromyography to evaluate motor planning both in unimpaired individuals and patient populations.

Banner image from: watchfit.com

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