Rehabilitation Science and Technologies Resource Core (RC3)
Physical impairments, sedentary lifestyle, and chronic conditions such as stroke, hip fracture, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, and type 2 diabetes mellitus and its vascular sequelae, result in multi-system declines that precipitate the loss of functional independence and the onset of disability among older adults. Rehabilitation Science and Technologies Resource Core 3 (RC-3), aims to improve our ability to prevent and reverse these declines. We build on this core’s strengths in rehabilitation medicine and physical therapy with a focus on gait, balance and mobility research, by expanding to mechanistic studies of motor learning and activity-dependent plasticity. Incorporation of new bioengineering capacity has expanded the resources and mentoring needed by UM-OAIC investigators to design, test, and translate novel rehabilitative technologies and engineering-informed approaches into new services and products. Technology transfer processes and academic-private partnerships are introduced to accelerate translation into community practice and into products with public health impact. The central hypothesis of RC-3 is that rehabilitation science-based therapeutics that leverage activity-dependent plasticity and neuromotor learning (including balance, mobility training, and bioengineering-modelled rehabilitation robotics and other technologies) will improve recovery and enhance function in older adults with functional limitations and disability and will be accomplished through the following Specific Aims:
To support investigations of sensory, motor, and cognitive mechanisms that underlie loss of functional independence and improvements produced by preventative or rehabilitative interventions. This will be accomplished by providing a repertoire of rehabilitation assessment and training of sensory, motor and cognitive function, development of assistive technologies, assessments of neuroplasticity, and tests of neurocognitive function.
To mentor and support REC Scholars and UM-OAIC researchers in the design, development and implementation of sensory, motor, and cognitive rehabilitation studies. These studies may involve implementation of technologies and examining underlying sensory, motor, and cognitive mechanisms to reduce and prevent functional declines in older persons with or at risk for functional limitations.
To facilitate translation of UM-OAIC discoveries across the mechanistic, rehabilitation engineering, applied clinical testing, and technology transfer phases into evidence-based clinical assessments and interventions using novel products and tools for precision rehabilitation.