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Hausdorff to receive GSA's 2013 Excellence in Rehabilitation of Aging Persons Award
Date:8/15/2013

eractions have had a profound impact on the understanding and quantification of human locomotion, the assessment and prediction of fall risk, and the mechanisms underlying changes in walking with aging and common pathologies like Parkinson's disease.

Building on the links that they found between walking, thinking, and falling, Hausdorff and his colleagues also developed novel approaches to the rehabilitation of gait and the reduction of fall risk. For example, they examined the effects of an attention-enhancing drug on gait in older adults with a high risk of falling and developed a multi-modal treadmill training program that is augmented by virtual reality. The treadmill training addresses issues related to usual-walking; the virtual reality environment implicitly teaches subjects to better negotiate obstacles, plan ahead, perform visual scanning, and dual-task, all done while walking at the same time. In several pilot studies, usual-walking and dual-task gait speed significantly improved after six weeks of training, as did gait variability, and the ability to negotiate obstacles in the real world. Intriguingly, cognitive tests of executive control also improved in response to this unique training paradigm. These findings further highlight the fascinating mechanisms connecting gait, cognitive function, fall risk and the potential plasticity of the aging brain and body.


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Contact: Todd Kluss
tkluss@geron.org
202-587-2839
The Gerontological Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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