The research group focuses on Neuromechanics and Neurorehabilitation. 

Neuromechanics combines neurophysiological and biomechanical approaches to study human movements. The research group uses neuromechanical analysis to investigate balance- and gait disorders of neurological diseases - particularly Parkinson's disease. 


The second main focus of the research group is Neurorehabilitation. The group investigates the effectiveness of physical therapy to treat gait and balance disorders. Using the knowledge of the neuromechanical analysis leads to a deeper understanding of the underlying disease specific mechanisms. Exercise is investigated in training intervention studies. 
 

(Motor lab:  Motoriklabor)

Projects

Freezing

Abb1.: Center of Mass (COM), center of gravity (COG) und center of pressure (COP) bei der Posturographie.

Freezing of gait (FOG) in Parkinson's disease is a “brief, episodic absence or marked reduction of forward progression of the feet despite having the intention to walk” (Giladi & Nieuwboer, 2008), often subjectively described by the patients as the "feeling that their feet get glued to the ground". FOG often occurs when initiating gait, during turning, when passing doorways or when reaching a target.

This project investigates the relationship of FOG and postural control deficits in Parkinson's disease. We are interested in whether postural control deficits contribute to FOG or, alternatively, whether altered postural control compensates for FOG. Neuromechanical analyses are applied to get a detailed view of the different postural control domains and to investigate the underlying mechanisms of locomotion.

This project is funded by the Coppenrath-Foundation and Krumme-Foundation. 

 

Collaboration:

  • Dr. Fay Horak, Balance Disorders Laboratory, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon, USA
  • Dr. Martina Mancini, Balance Disorders Laboratory, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon, USA
  • Prof. Dr. Walter Maetzler, Klinik für Neurologie, Universitätsklinikum Schleswig-Holstein, Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel, Germany

Split-Belt-Treadmill

People with neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's disease have deficits in various motor and non-motor symptoms, including gait as the essential form of human locomotion. Parkinsonian gait can be characterised by motor blocks (freezing of gait), reduced step lengths, larger gait asymmetry and impaired gait regularity. These gait deficits are associated with falls and impact patients' mobility and quality of life. 

Split-belt treadmill is investigated in this project to rehabilitate gait disorders of people with Parkinson's disease. A split-belt treadmill has two belts, allowing to adjust the belt's velocity of left and right leg independently. Split-belt treadmill is a promising tool to modulate gait deficits, particularly gait asymmetry. The transfer and storage of newly learned gait patterns imposed by different split-belt conditions will be investigated.

The project is funded by the Jacques & Gloria Gossweiler Foundation.

 

Collaboration:

  • Prof. Dr. Alice Nieuwboer, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, KU Leuven, Belgium
  • Prof. Dr. Burkhard Weisser, Department of Sports Science, Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel, Germany
  • Prof. Dr. Walter Maetzler, Department of Neurology, University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel, Germany

Resistance- and Balance-Training

Postural instability is a cardinal sign of Parkinson’s disease and an independent risk factor for falls. Impaired postural control reduces patients’ mobility and impacts patients’ quality of life. Physical therapy is an important treatment option particularly for those symptoms which are insufficiently improved by antiparkinsonian medication such as postural instability. 
In this project a resistance- and balance-training were compared to improve postural control in people with Parkinson’s disease. Participants trained two times per week for a total of 7 weeks. Resistance training significantly improved postural control. This study shows that resistance training not only improves muscular strength but is also beneficial to enhance postural control. 

The project was funded by the Coppenrath-Foundation and Krumme-Foundation.