We are very excited to share that the Applied Biomechanics Laboratory has been awarded a new research grant from the National Institute on Aging to fund our research on walking balance control and risk of falls in the elderly. The project will continue to support our ongoing collaboration with Drs. Erik Wikstrom (UNC EXSS) and Prue Plummer (UNC PT) as we continue toward new and more effective ways to detect and mitigate falls risk.
Project Synopsis (“The sensorimotor locus of balance control in elderly gait”: Our premise is that optical flow perturbations, particularly when applied during walking, can effectively identify balance deficits due to aging and falls history and subsequently condition successful balance control strategies through training. Our approach tightly integrates visuomotor perturbations via an immersive virtual environment with advanced biomechanical analyses and a series of sensory, motor, and cognitive-motor correlates to gain unprecedented insight into aging and falls history effects on balance control and response to perturbations. This information has the potential to facilitate promising and transformative new approaches for identifying and mitigating the exceptionally high risk of falls in our aging population.”