The Impact of Hearing Impairment on Mobility - Moving from Lab to Life
In this project, we ask whether individuals with age-related hearing loss are more vulnerable than those with no hearing loss in terms of balance and mobility, given that both effortful listening and motor control utilize cognitive control. Balance and mobility is measured with a combination of 3-D motion analysis, electromyography (EMG), force plates, and a moving platform, located in Concordia's PERFORM Centre. A portion of this work takes place at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute's Challenging Environment Assessment Lab (StreetLab), where we use virtual reality displays in conjunction with treadmill walking. Another portion of the work focuses on physical and cognitive training to improve on mobility and cognition. This work is funded by CIHR (Canadian Institutes of Health Research), and is done in collaboration with Drs. Louis Bherer, Nancy St.Onge, Natalie Phillips, Kathy Pichora-Fuller, Jean-Pierre Gagné, Jennifer Campos, and Walter Wittich.
Age Related Differences in Cognitive Control
In this project, funded by NSERC, we aim to further the understanding of processes involved in executive functions, essential for complex cognition and behavior. We are presently exploring the Dual Mechanisms of Control model, which distinguishes between proactive and reactive control processes. Proactive control involves sustained activation of task goals or context to enable the avoidance of conflicting information. Reactive control involves the more immediate resolution of conflicting information when it presents itself, with little advanced warning. We are investigating the relative age-related differences in these types of control within a variety of contexts such as classic cognitive tasks (switching, inhibition), fine motor (fingering) and gross motor (postural control) tasks.
Mobility, Exercise, and Cognitive Training
In this project, we are part of a large Canada-wide team of researchers interested in how combined exercise and cognitive training can help improve cognitive status and mobility in older adults at risk for dementia (i.e., those with Mild Cognitive Impairment). This clinical trial is part of a larger research network, the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA), which is funded by CIHR, the Government of Canada, and other funding partners. The overall aim of CCNA is to develop a Canadian strategy to tackle prevention, treatment and care for Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias, and includes studies of cellular, genetic, neuroimaging, nutritional, behavioural, lifestyle and cultural factors. Our lab is involved in the implementation and delivery of the training protocol, and we will examine the mobility-related outcomes (walking, dual-task walking, balance).