Current Projects

In-Progress

Title: Influence of Intramuscular Electromyographic Electrode Insertion on Lower Back Muscle Performance and Activation in Individuals with Chronic Low Back Pain

Sponsor: UNLV Department of Physical Therapy

Status: In-Progress

Type: Grant, Research

Role: Principal

Scope: Local

 

Total Amount Awarded: $1,631.50

Submitted: April 2016

Awarded: May 2016

Funded: August 2016 – July 2017

Description: The purpose of the research is to compare the effects of fine-wire electrode insertion on lower back muscle performance in individuals with and without chronic low back pain. The findings are currently being prepared to be submitted to the Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology.

Title: Mobility Functions in Individuals with Lower Limb Loss

Sponsor: UNLV Department of Physical Therapy

Status: In-Progress

Type: Grant, Research

Role: Principal

Scope: Local

 

Total Amount Awarded: $1,505

Submitted: April 2016

Awarded: May 2016

Funded: August 2016 – July 2017

Description: The purpose of the research is to investigate the effects of an individual’s socioeconomic status, prior physical therapy, and accessibility to physical therapy on mobility in individuals with lower limb amputation. The findings have been submitted to the American Physical Therapy Association’s Combined Section Meeting for presentation in 2018. Part of the funds was used to support student travel to collect data.

Title: Effects of Intramuscular EMG Insertion to Deep Paraspinal Muscles on Lumbar Muscular Strength and Endurance Performance

Sponsor: UNLV Department of Physical Therapy

Status: In-Progress

Type: Grant, Research

Role: Principal

Scope: Local

 

Total Amount Awarded: $1,452

Submitted: April 2015

Awarded: May 2015

Funded: August 2015 – July 2016

Description: The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of intramuscular electromyography (EMG) electrode insertion on the performance and activation of the lumbar paraspinal muscles (specifically multifidus). A secondary purpose is to quantify the amount of discomfort/pain experienced by the participants during lower back muscle performance testing with and without the intramuscular electrodes. We hypothesize that the intramuscular insertion will lead to reduced lumbar extensor strength and endurance performance, and reduced muscle activation level. The findings were presented at the American Physical Therapy Association’s Combined Section Meeting in 2017, and are being prepared to be submitted to the Journal of Biomechanics.

Title: The Impact of Visual Impairments on Mobility in Older Adults

Sponsor: UNLV Department of Physical Therapy

Status: In-Progress

Type: Grant, Research

Role: Principal

Scope: Local

 

Total Amount Awarded: $935

Submitted: April 2015

Awarded: May 2015

Funded: August 2015 – July 2016

Description: The purpose of the study is to investigate factors, including visual acuity, relate to physical mobility in older adults in Southern Nevada. This research was presented at the American Physical Therapy Association’s Combined Section Meeting in 2017. A manuscript was submitted to the Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy.

Title: Acute Effects of Walking on the Deformation of Femoral Articular cartilage of the Knee

Sponsor: UNLV Department of Physical Therapy

Status: In-Progress

Type: Grant, Research

Role: Co-Principal

Scope: Local

 

Total Amount Awarded: $2,125

Submitted: April 2015

Awarded: May 2015

Funded: August 2015 – July 2016

Description: The objectives of the study is to investigate tibiofemoral articular cartilage deformation induced by locomotion, and observe the effects of biomechanics of the lower extremity that could be contributing to cartilage deformation leading to osteoarthritis. By observing the biomechanics of the lower extremity, we can determine if abnormal forces on the tibiofemoral joint are leading to the development of premature osteoarthritis.

Title: Effects of Internal vs. External Attentional Focus Instructions on Running Form Re-education

Sponsor: UNLV Department of Physical Therapy

Status: In-Progress

Type: Grant, Research

Role: Principal

Scope: Local

 

Total Amount Awarded: $2,600

Submitted: April 2015

Awarded: May 2015

Funded: August 2015 – July 2016

Description: The purpose of the 2-year study is to compare the effectiveness of the traditional internal vs. external focus based instruction on short and long term retention of running form re-education. The results and information gained from this study will not only benefit runners and clinical physical therapy practice, but will also help us understand the effects of instructions on motor learning. A manuscript is being prepared to be submitted to the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy.

Title: Effects of internal vs. external attentional focus instructions on running form re-education.

Sponsor: UNLV Department of Physical Therapy

Status: In-Progress

Type: Grant, Research

Role: Principal

Scope: Local

 

Total Amount Awarded: $2,000

Submitted: April 2014

Awarded: May 2014

Funded: August 2014 – July 2015

Description: The purpose of the 2-year study is to compare the effectiveness of the traditional internal vs. external focus based instruction on short and long term retention of running form re-education. We hypothesized that using running form re-education through external focus will facilitate health and prevent musculoskeletal injury. The results and information gained from this study will not only benefit runners and clinical physical therapy practice, but will also help us understand the effects of instructions on motor learning. Pilot data obtained from this study have led to 3 external grant proposals.

Title: Musculoskeletal Symptoms of Neck and Shoulder in Users of Touch-screen Devices: A Survey Study

Sponsor: UNLV Department of Physical Therapy

Status: In-Progress

Type: Grant, Research

Role: Principal

Scope: Local

 

Total Amount Awarded: $2,500

Submitted: May 2013

Awarded: June 2013

Funded: August 2013 – July 2014

Description: The primary goal of the project was to investigate the influence of tablet computer usage on the prevalence and severity of neck and shoulder symptoms. Findings from this study were presented at the American Physical Therapy Association’s Combined Section Meeting in 2016 and is currently under review at Musculoskeletal Science and Practice.

Title: The Effects of Training on Landing Strategies in Female College-Aged Dancers: A Pilot Study

Sponsor: UNLV Department of Physical Therapy

Status: In-Progress

Type: Grant, Research

Role: Co-Principal

Scope: Local

 

Total Amount Awarded: $1,590

Submitted: May 2013

Awarded: June 2013

Funded: Fall 2013 – Spring 2014

Description: The purpose of the study was to investigate the effects of dance experience and movement instruction on lower extremity kinematics and muscle activation during landing tasks. Our findings suggested that experienced dancers demonstrate safer landing strategies compared to recreational athletes. Specific acute movement instruction can potentially deteriorate the mechanics of those with no dance training experience. This work has been submitted to Physical Therapy in Sport and is currently under review. Findings from this study were presented at the American Physical Therapy Association’s Combined Section Meeting in 2016.

Awarded

Title: Lumbopelvic Muscle Performance and Cross-sectional Area in Individuals with Unilateral Transfemoral Amputation: Implications for Lower Back Pain

Sponsor: UNLV Department of Physical Therapy

Status: Awarded

Type: Grant, Research

Role: Co-Principal

Scope: Local

 

Total Amount Awarded: $1,370

Submitted: April 2017

Awarded: May 2017

Funded: August 2017 – July 2018

Description: The purpose of this preliminary study is to establish the research methodology and to investigate the anatomical and functional characteristics of the lumbopelvic muscles in lower limb amputees with LBP. We propose to compare the multifidus muscle cross sectional area and paraspinal muscle performance between amputees with and without LBP and an age-matched control group.

Title: Mobility Outcomes and Patient Perception of Outpatient Physical Therapy in Individuals with Lower Extremity Amputation: a Retrospective Study

Sponsor: UNLV Department of Physical Therapy

Status: Awarded

Type: Grant, Research

Role: Principal

Scope: Local

 

Total Amount Awarded: $1,820

Submitted: April 2017

Awarded: May 2017

Funded: August 2017 – July 2018

Description: The purpose of the proposed research is to determine whether receiving physical therapy in patients with limb loss leads to beneficial functional and quality of life outcomes when compared to those who did not receive physical therapy. Results from this study will be applied to improve the efficacy of physical therapy treatment with the goal of improving mobility and quality of life in individuals with limb loss.

Title: Patellar Tendon Morphology in Transtibial Amputees Utilizing a Patellar-Tendon-Bearing Prosthesis

Sponsor: UNLV Department of Physical Therapy

Status: Awarded

Type: Grant, Research

Role: Co-Principal

Scope: Local

 

Total Amount Awarded: $580

Submitted: April 2017

Awarded: May 2017

Funded: August 2017 – July 2018

Description: The purpose of this study is to examine the micro- and macro-morphological changes that occur in the patellar tendon of unilateral trans-tibial amputees who wear a patellar-tendon-bearing prosthesis.

Influence of Intramuscular Electromyographic Electrode Insertion on Lower Back Muscle Performance and Activation

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Background: Recurrent low back pain (RLBP) has been shown to be associated with paraspinal muscle dysfunctions. Intramuscular electromyography (EMG) has been used to study activation of the deep paraspinal muscles, but it is not known how the paraspinal muscle activation of subjects with RLBP is affected by the invasive intramuscular insertion and the presence of the fine-wire electrode in the muscle.

Purpose: To analyze how insertion of fine-wire EMG into the lumbar multifidus muscle affects paraspinal muscle activation as measured by surface EMG during high exertion spinal extension in subjects with RLBP.

Reliability and Validity of Using a Mobile Application to Assess Knee Motion in Healthy and Post-Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction Subjects

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Background: Definitive guidelines for return to sport after reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) have yet to be established. However, functional tasks that involve landing, hopping, and cutting are widely used to determine the readiness of an athlete for sport participation. Video analysis can also be used to identify kinematics of the knee in determining risk of reinjury upon return to sport. To date, clinicians rely on visual analysis of kinematics due to inaccessibility of 3D video analysis systems within most clinics.

Purpose: To establish the reliability and validity of using a mobile application as a tool to measure dynamic knee valgus angle during functional activities in healthy and ACL Reconstruction (ACLR) populations.

Patellofemoral Joint Stress During Uphill and Downhill Running

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Background: Patellofemoral pain (PFP) is the most common running overuse injury. PFP has been associated with increases in PFJ stress in runners. Specifically, runners often report an increase in PFP symptoms while running downhill, which may be attributed to increase in PFJ stress. Increases in PFJ stress during downhill running is related to increases in PFJ reaction forces, which are potentially caused by altered knee flexion angle and/or increased knee extensor moment due to a more upright trunk posture and greater peak ground reaction forces. Conversely, a more flexed trunk posture is adopted in runners during uphill running, which may cause a reduction in PFJ stress during uphill running.

Purpose: To investigate how slope affects patellofemoral joint (PFJ) stress in recreational runners under three running conditions: uphill, level, and downhill

Neuromuscular Adaptations During Slope Walking in Individuals Post-Stroke

Background: An estimated 795,000 people experience a new or recurrent stroke every year with physical inactivity, especially walking, being a primary risk factor. One of the most significant symptoms following stroke is impaired gait performance, with diminished strength and inappropriately graded muscle activity as the primary contributors. Inappropriately graded muscle activity is shown through both an exaggerated reflex and muscle spasticity, which greatly affect gait in people post-stroke. This can be measured through the H-reflex/M-wave (H/M) ratio and contributes to altered anterior-posterior (A-P) ground reaction forces. Although short term adaptations of the A-P ground reaction forces and H/M ratios following sloped walking have been evaluated and studied in non-impaired individuals, it has yet to be evaluated in patients post-stroke.

Purpose: To investigate the short-term neurological adaptations in a stroke-impaired population after a single bout of treadmill walking. This will provide evidence for activity-dependent spinal plasticity in the stroke-impaired nervous system, and can lead to development of a novel targeted intervention to enhance post-stroke locomotor control and interaction with challenging environmental conditions during daily life such as slope walking.

Patellar Tendon Morphology in Trans-Tibial Amputees Utilizing a Patellar-Tendon-Bearing Prosthesis

Background and Purpose: The patellar-tendon-bearing (PTB) prosthesis is a common socket design used in individuals with trans-tibial amputations, and was designed to take advantage of the patellar tendon as a weight-bearing structure due to its pressure tolerance, and minimized loading to the more pressure sensitive areas of the residual limb. As the patellar tendon is subjected to a different loading condition, it is possible that soft tissue remodeling and degeneration can occur over time in active prosthesis users. The purpose of this study is to compare the micro- (collagen fiber organization-peak spatial frequency radius (PSFR)) and macro- (neoangiogenesis, thickness and cross sectional area (CSA)) morphological changes between the tendons of the amputated and intact limb in unilateral trans-tibial amputees who wear a PTB prosthesis.

Mobility Outcomes and Patient Perception of Outpatient Physical Therapy in Individuals with Lower Extremity Amputation: a retrospective study

Background and Purpose: The rates of people living with limb loss is growing substantially over time, likely due to the aging society and prevalence of diabetes. Physical therapy has been proven to improve functional outcomes and quality of life in older adults and individuals with diabetes. Previous studies have shown that post-acute rehab is effective. However, it is currently unknown what outpatient physical therapy for amputee care entails, and how patients perceive its usefulness. The purpose of the proposed research is to determine whether receiving physical therapy in patients with lower limb loss leads to beneficial functional outcomes and quality of life when compared to those who did not receive physical therapy.

Lumbopelvic Muscle Performance and Cross-Sectional Area in Individuals with Unilateral Transfemoral Amputation: Implications for Low Back Pain

Background and Purpose: The amount of people living with an amputation is rising at rate of almost 200,000 cases a year. The incidence of low back pain (LBP) in transfemoral amputees is 40% greater than in the general population. Our current hypotheses for LBP in the lower limb amputation (LLA) population surround movement asymmetries in gait, muscle cross sectional area differences, and decreased back extensor strength and endurance. Muscle morphology and activation patterns during daily activities such as gait have not been quantified in those with LLA and LBP. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to investigate the anatomical and functional characteristics of the lumbopelvic muscles in lower limb amputees with LBP. We will compare the multifidus muscle cross-sectional area (MF CSA) and paraspinal muscle performance between amputees with and without LBP and an age-matched control group as well as a side-to- side comparison on the LBP group.

Kinematics of Walking at Different Walking Speeds in Individuals with Chronic Post-Stroke Hemiparesis

Background and Purpose: The purpose of this study is to analyze the changes in propulsion forces, ankle joint kinematics and muscle activities at three different walking speeds: self-selected walking speed (SSWS), fast walking speed (FWS), and slow walking speed (SWS), in individuals with chronic post-stroke hemiparesis. Stroke is a leading cause of long-term disability in adults worldwide. The ability to return to walking is often a main goal of rehabilitation in individuals with chronic post stroke hemiparesis. With increased walking speed, non-neurologically impaired subjects produce increased ankle plantarflexion power and increased ankle dorsiflexion angle in the swing phase. It remains unclear if increasing walking speed would have the same effects on ankle kinetics, kinematics, and muscle activations in people post-stroke. Therefore, we aim to see if manipulated walking speeds would have an effect on propulsion force, ankle dorsiflexion angle, and co-contraction of the tibialis anterior and gastrocnemius muscles in individuals with chronic post-stroke hemiparesis. Information from this study could shift the current approach in the rehabilitation process, in patients with chronic post-stroke hemiparesis.