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Current Projects

Join our efforts to reduce the risk of falls and improve thinking, walking, balance, and overall independence in older adults. Transportation can be provided. Compensation is offered for participation.

For more information please visit Join A Research Study.


Current:

High frequency monitoring of the home environment and health and wellbeing of older adults
NIA/NIH 2T32AG023480-16
Older adults are more likely to be impacted by a suboptimal home environment. Meanwhile, little is being done to create housing that promotes their health and wellbeing. To solve this problem, a crucial first step is to quantify the relationships between the home environment and health and wellbeing of older adults. Ultimately, these relationships can be used for better housing design as well as automated control of home environment based on individual’s unique and ever-changing physiology. My goal is to establish relationships between the environment (as defined by indoor temperature and humidity) and outcomes related to sleep, activity, cognition, and subjective wellbeing in older adults.

Modulating brain networks to reduce gait variability in older adults at risk of falling
NIH/NIA 1K01AG075252-01
The goal of this proposal is to establish the relationships among gait, attention, and resting-state functional connectivity in older adults. Furthermore, we will examine the acute after-effects of a single session exposure to a novel form of non-invasive brain stimulation on resting-state functional connectivity, and determine the effects of a multi-session intervention on gait variability and related outcomes in older adults at risk of falling.

Cortical mechanisms and modulation of somatosensation in older adults with foot sole somatosensory impairments
NIH/NIA 1K01AG075180-01
The goal of this project is to examine whether increasing excitability of brain cortical networks as activated by controlled walking-related foot stimulation using tDCS can augment foot sole sensation, and thus improve balance and mobility, in older adults suffering from mild-to-moderate foot sole somatosensory impairments.

Senolytics and depressive symptoms in older adults at risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
NIH/NIA T32-AG023480 (or R21 AG073886-01?)
The goal of this project is to obtain preliminary data after co-administration of two senolytic compounds (that target senescent cells) in a small cohort of older adults with slow gait speed and mild cognitive impairment. We will determine the impact of a 12 week co-administration of senolytic compounds on depressive symptoms, and determine if reductions in depressive symptoms are associated with reductions in senescent cells in serum.

Improving Safety of Transitions to Skilled Nursing Care Using Video-conferencing
NIH/NIA R01 HS025702-01
If it can be demonstrated that ECHO-CT can be replicated in a tertiary and community based hospital and leads to safer transitions of care, fewer hospital readmissions, reduced health care costs compared to conventional patient transition practices, the team will disseminate instructional materials and toolkits to hospitals, SNF’s and health care organizations nationwide. This may ultimately reduce the high rates of adverse events, medication errors and re-hospitalizations that are currently associated with transitions in care.

Boston Roybal Center for Active Lifestyle Interventions
Brandeis University- Roybal
The Pilot Core will support a group of innovative and scientifically rigorous pilot studies each year that will enable the Boston Roybal Center to develop and test behavior change- strategies that promote healthy aging, especially for persons at high risk for poor health outcomes.  The work of the Core will ultimately lead to interventions to achieve health-promoting behavior change in vulnerable, at-risk populations.    

Personalized brain activity modulation to improve balance and cognition in elderly fallers
NIA/NIH R01 AG059089
This study seeks to determine the effects of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), a noninvasive technology that uses low-level electrical currents to increase brain activation, on the control of standing and walking in older adults with previous falls. By using state-of-the-art technology to 1) target brain regions involved in both motor and mental function, and 2) personalize tDCS to each individual’s head and brain anatomy, this study is expected to identify tDCS as a viable intervention to enhance standing, walking, and other important physical and mental functions on the causal pathway to falls in older adults.

NFLPA/Harvard Accelerated Research Collaboration to Protect and Improve the Health of Football Players
Harvard University Agreement No. 225417.5111432.0044
The project will implement kinematic assessments of gait and balance into the Harvard Football Players Health Study (FPHS) in-person assessments of retired professional American-style football players. The scientific aim of this study is to determine the effects of long-term exposure to this sport on health outcomes in later life.

Optimizing transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to improve dual task gait and balance in older adults
NIH/NIA R21 AG064575
Age-related decline in the ability to stand and walk while performing additional tasks like talking or reading (i.e., dual tasking) leads to falls and is caused in part by reduced capacity to activate the brain networks involved in the regulation of these activities. We have demonstrated that excitatory transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), a noninvasive technology that uses low-level electrical currents to increase brain activation, improves dual task performance and mobility in older adults. This project will apply advances in tDCS modeling and delivery in order to personalize tDCS to individual differences in head and brain anatomy, with the goal of better controlling electrical current flow and increasing the size and consistency of its benefit to the control of dual task standing and walking.

Real-time quantification of muscle-tendon dynamics for individualized and adaptive robot-assisted locomotion
NIH/NIA R21 AR076686 01A1
The aims of this project are to 1) integrate a real-time ultrasound system with an existing soft robotic exosuit to collect muscle-tendon measurements and validate use in variable gait conditions, and 2) evaluate use of the muscle-based ankle exosuit assistance in elderly adults walking in variable gait conditions.

Age-related changes in peripheral and central vestibular contributions to balance
NIH/NIA
The aim of this subcontract is to facilitate the conduct of a cross-sectional study of the effects of aging and vestibular impairment on the visual, somatosensory, and vestibular contributions to standing postural control and related functional outcomes.

Adaptive biologically-controlled home environments to promote health in older adults
TMCity Group
The overall goal of this project is to provide proof-of-concept that environmental sensors (e.g. temperature, humidity, light, and sound) can be used to adjust ambient environments where people live, and thereby improve the health and function of older adults.

Modulating brain activity to improve goal-directed physical activity in older adults
NIH/NIA 2 P30AG048785-06 Pilot Award
The aim of this study is to conduct a small yet well-controlled randomized trial to established the feasibility and preliminary effects of a 10-session tDCS intervention targeting the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) on physical activity, over a two-month period following the setting of a personalized physical activity goal, in physically-inactive older adults without overt illness or disease.

Modifying brain activity and behavior to improve life-space mobility and physical activity in older adults
Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Centers (OAIC) Coordinating Center Program 1032-33664-10000117742
The aim of this pilot award is to test the feasibility of combining a transcranial direct current stimulation designed to facilitate the excitability of the prefrontal cortex with a behavioral intervention designed to increase daily physical activity in sedentary older adults.


Completed:

Optimization and delineation of optokinetic stimulation glasses for the treatment of hemispatial neglect
NIH/NIA 5 R21 EY027468
Dr. Manor serves as a consultant on this project providing expertise in the development, implementation, and interpretation of gait and balance assessments in individuals suffering from brain damage and related hemispatial neglect.

Walk2Wellness: Long-term Use Effects of Walkasins® Wearable Sensory Prosthesis on Gait, Balance-Confidence, Social Participation, and Brain Structure and Function
Rx Function
The main objective of this study is to show a long-term (10 week) sustained improvement in gait and balance following Walkasins use as compared to initial baseline assessment and to examine a potential relationship between initial baseline assessment data and long-term outcome in people with peripheral neuropathy. This study will help us further refine the prescription criteria for Walkasins and understand whether the presence of a short- term response is indicative of long-term improvements.                                                                                    
Supervised home-based transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) for major depressive disorder
Neuroelectrics
This study aims to assess the safety and feasibility of a supervised treatment at- home tDCS intervention for patients with an acute depression episode in the setting of uni- or bipolar major depressive disorder.

Powered clothing to enhance locomotor control: A first step toward reducing falls in the elderly
Harvard University/Wyss Institute Harvard Initiative on Aging Pilot Award
The aims of this award are to 1) optimize an existing soft wearable robot platform for delivery low force cues to the elderly, and 2) evaluate the effect of low force mechanical cues on gait automaticity in ten elderly subjects.

Modulating brain activity to improve dual task gait in older adults with mild Alzheimer’s disease
3 P30 AG031679-09S1 (AD/ADRD Supplement to the NIH / NIA Boston Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center)
This projects consists of a pilot, randomized sham-controlled trial to determine the feasibility and effects of a 10-session personalized tDCS intervention targeting the left dlPFC on cognitive function, dual task standing and walking, and other metrics of mobility in 24 older adults with mild AD living in supportive housing.

Physical Resiliencies: Indicators and Mechanisms in the Elderly Collaborative
Duke University/NIH 4UH3-AG056925-04
PRIME Collaborative is a consortium that combines expertise from many disciplines and institutions and leverages existing scientific resources to advance the ability to measure and predict resilience in three important areas: musculoskeletal function (after orthopedic surgery); cognitive function (after surgery/anesthesia); and immune function (after infection). Dr. Lipsitz serves as a co-investigator to develop complexity measures from pre- and intra-operative EEG tracings that can predict the development of postoperative delirium.

Nursing Home Prevention of Injury in Dementia (NH PRIDE)
NIH R01 AG062492
The purpose of this project is to develop and implement an Injury Liason Service in four nursing home facilities that will promote deprescribing psychoactive and cardiometabolic drugs and encourage osteoporosis treatment.