All faculty in the Division of Physical Therapy dedicate a portion of their time to scholarship activity. Some of the research studies being pursued are detailed here. For more information on a given study, contact the principal investigator(s).
Matthew Bowman is working with a group to establish clinical practice guidelines for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). He is taking part in a systematic review that is looking at the effects of exercise on nutrition in adults with cystic fibrosis. He is also working on a case report detailing care for a patient with long COVID, using vital signs and specific exercise and activity monitoring to minimize post-exertional malaise symptoms.
A novel, smartphone-based tool to quantify balance in individuals with Parkinson's Disease
The goal of this study is to evaluate assessment paradigms used to understand balance under single- and dual-task standing and walking among older adults diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. Risk factors for falls in this population include freezing of gait, cognitive impairment, poor leaning balance, muscle weakness and decreased gait speed. However, to date, very few studies have suggested strong and feasible methods of balance and fall assessments that could be used indoors in the patient's living environment. The long-term objective of this project is to address limitations related to routine balance evaluation through the initial validation of a smartphone-based cognitive and gait assessment among 20 individuals diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease.
Longitudinal fall risk evaluation of community-dwelling older adults
In collaboration with eight Broome County senior centers and Yvonne Johnston, associate professor and founding director of Binghamton’s Division of Public Health, this project aims to provide older adults with a holistic wellness checkup that can identify deficiencies that might be indicative of fall risk. As falls represent a significant physical, social, financial and psychological burden for older adults and caregivers, the long-term goal of the research is to reduce the incidence of falls among community-dwelling older adults, including those in underrepresented and rural communities. Faculty and students in the Division of Physical Therapy provide gait and balance evaluations, as well as collect social, environmental, psychological and economic measures from older adults through scheduled visits to each of the senior centers. Annual checkups will allow for longitudinal evaluation of functional performance, activity level and fall incidence.
Pediatric Wellbeing Picture Scale
Wellbeing is associated with increased longevity and decreased disease risk, illness and injury. While its importance has been documented, issues with wellbeing are often overlooked in the pediatric population. As approximately 4.4 million children between the ages of 3–17 have been diagnosed with anxiety and 1.9 million with depression, it is likely that these children will have reduced social skills, an altered ability to learn in school and comorbid health conditions that can prevail throughout the child's life. While typical screening tools can provide early identification, they rely on increased reading comprehension skills that might not be suitable or inclusive of all children. Lugade and Judith Quaranta, associate professor of nursing, Decker College, are developing a Pediatric Wellbeing Picture Scale made available through tablets to provide a readily accessible, universal screening for mental health issues in children. Currently, tests of the tool's validity and reliability are being performed in collaboration with Windsor Central School District.
Suzanne O’Brien is finishing two studies that investigated the functional outcomes from a pro bono clinic and an outpatient neurologic clinic. She believes recommendations for the best outcome measures to be used with community-dwelling neurologic patients can be made from these studies. She is involved with two multicenter groups investigating clinical reasoning in physical therapy; both groups are in the data-collection stage. The groups are using different methods to describe the clinical reasoning process used by practicing physical therapists. She believes the results from these studies will inform how best to teach clinical reasoning during physical therapy training. She and Vipul Lugade will be launching an investigation of the utility of a valid, easily accessible, smartphone-based tool to monitor balance, as well as provide personalized exercises for older adults as a stand-alone, field-based medical device.
Gurpreet Singh will be initiating a perturbation-based study in the MARL following IRB approval. This study will investigate the effects of footwear in individuals with balance dysfunction. The information collected will help create newer research studies to focus on gait and balance issues in individuals with neurodegenerative disorders.
Longitudinal home-based evaluation of balance and exercise in older adults
The purpose of the research is to evaluate if a smartphone can be used longitudinally to assess balance and to provide intervention in the home environment for older adults. Adults over the age of 65 are asked to complete a four-week balance intervention program at home, with the efficacy of the program to improve standing and walking balance evaluated for up to two months. Participants are further requested to use their personal smartphone to perform longitudinal assessments of their standing and walking balance.