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Mobility Research Center

Recently completed studies

Relationship of cardiovascular and muscular capacity to daily functioning in frail older adults

Study sponsor: National Institute on Aging and Department of Veterans Affairs

Researchers:
Neil Alexander, M.D., Principal Investigator, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan
Peter Vaitkevicius, M.D., Co-Investigator, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan
Don Dengel, Ph.D., Co-Investigator, Division of Kinesiology, University of Minnesota

Study purpose: The purpose of this project is to better understand how endurance and fatigue relate to performing daily activities such as walking and rising from a chair, and how we might better improve endurance and reduce fatigue through an exercise program. The investigators are trying to learn why some elderly people become mobility-impaired, and others do not. This knowledge will eventually prove useful in diagnosing problems of mobility loss and in developing therapies to increase endurance in older adults.

Understanding the Effects of Age, Disability and Disease on the Mobility of Older Adults

Study sponsor: National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging

Researchers:
James A. Ashton-Miller, Ph.D., Distinguished Senior Research Scientist, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan
Neil B. Alexander, M.D., Professor, Department of Geriatric Medicine, University of Michigan
Bruno J. Giordani, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan
Jersey Liang, Ph.D.,
Professor, School of Public Health , University of Michigan
Linda V. Nyquist, Ph.D., Senior Research Associate, Institute of Gerontology , University of Michigan

Study purpose: This research project is aimed at understanding the effects of age, disability and disease on the mobility of older adults. Such factors can make the performance of everyday tasks more challenging or difficult and thereby increasing the risk of a fall-related injury. What is it that makes one person decide to attempt a challenging task while another person of the same age would never dream of attempting it? If we knew more about how physical, cognitive and medical factors interact in this decision-making process we might be able to improve mobility, while also helping to prevent unnecessary injuries that can adversely affect quality of life.

A Tailored Physical Activity Program for Older Adults

Researchers:
Kimberlee A. Gretebeck, Ph.D., R.N., Primary Investigator Assistant Professor, University of Michigan School of Nursing
Neil Alexander, M.D., Co-Investigator University of Michigan Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Geriatric Medicine

Study purpose: The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of a tailored behavior change program to increase physical activity (PA) in older adults. This study is important as it has potential to improve the health and functional independence of older adults via a PA program that will teach the behavioral skills necessary to maintain PA and prevent relapse.

Aerobic performance, mobility limitations and exercise in older adults with diabetes

Study sponsor: Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Research and Development, VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System

Researchers:
Caroline S. Blaum, M.D., M.S., University of Michigan, Geriatrics Division Ann Arbor Veterans Affairs Hospital
Neil Alexander, M.D., University of Michigan, Geriatrics Division Ann Arbor Veterans Affairs Hospital
Donald Dengel, Ph.D., University of Minnesota Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Hospital
Andrzej Galecki, M.D., Ph.D., University of Michigan, Institute of Gerontology
Peter Vaitkevicius, M.D., Department of Cardiology
John D. Dingall, VA Medical Center

Study purpose: The focus of this research is to improve overall fitness in diabetes patients age 60 and over. We believe that exercise may help individuals with diabetes improve both their diabetes control and diabetes complications like heart rouble and leg problems. If you are eligible for this study, you will go through a health screening and testing sessions. Upon completion of the testing sessions you will be randomly assigned to one of two 10 week exercise classes.

Trunk function and postural control in older adults

Study Sponsor: National Institute on Aging

Researcher:
Neil Alexander MD, Principal Investigator

The goal of this study is to determine the relationship between aspects of trunk function and postural control. We are interested in how trunk control contributes to falls in older adults. These studies may eventually be used to help predict who is at higher fall risk, and to predict how trunk function contributes to the inability to recover from loss of balance.

Improving Muscle Power and Mobility of Elderly Men and Women

Study sponsor: Michigan Economic Development Corporation

Researchers:
Bruce Carlson, M.D., Ph.D., Institute of Gerontology, University of Michigan
Neil Alexander, M.D., Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan
James Ashton-Miller, Ph.D., Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan
Paul Cederna, M.D., Department of Surgery, University of Michigan
Neil Cole, Ph.D., BioLogic Engineering, Inc.
John Faulkner, Ph.D., Institute of Gerontology, University of Michigan
Jeffrey Horowitz, Ph.D., Division of Kinesiology, University of Michigan

Study purpose: The purpose of this research project is to identify methods and procedures that will improve muscle power and mobility in old age. The study has two main goals - (1) to better understand the underlying basis for weakness and decreased mobility in old age and (2) to investigate training methods for improving muscle strength and mobility. As part of this study, we plan to have normal younger and older adult subjects take part in a 12-week training program designed to improve strength and speed of movement in the leg and hip muscles. The results of this study are expected to produce guidelines and protocols for improving strength and mobility in older adults.

Fundamental Aspects of Mobility in Older Adults

Study sponsor: National Institute of Aging

Researchers:
James A. Ashton-Miller, Ph.D., Distinguished Senior Research Scientist, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Michigan
Neil B. Alexander, M.D., Professor, Department of Geriatric Medicine, University of Michigan
Bruno J. Giordani, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan
Jersey Liang, Ph.D., Professor, School of Public Health , University of Michigan
Linda V. Nyquist, Ph.D., Senior Research Associate, Institute of Gerontology , University of Michigan

Study purpose: This project is aimed at understanding the effects of age, disability and disease on the mobility of older adults. In particular we are attempting to gain insights that will lead to a reduction in the number of falls and, particularly, fall-related injuries on older adults.

Training to Improve Responses to Impending Falls

Study sponsor: National Institute of Aging

Reserchers:
Neil Alexander M.D., Principal Investigator
Peter Vaitkevicius, M.D., Co-Investigator

The goal of this study is to determine how training can affect the ability of an older adult to maintain balance and alter responses to situations where one nearly falls down. Once we understand how specific training can alter these responses, we might be able to help older adults avoid falls and fall-related injuries.