• Interview with Gregory Youdan Jr.

In The Lab

We here at Ex-Intell believe that it is important that everyone interested in health has an opportunity to learn about research that is currently happening in the movement science world. Each month our “In the lab” section will feature a colleague of ours and the research they are involved in.

In the lab: Real time reports from movement science researchers on the front lines

1)Please introduce yourself;

Gregory Youdan Jr., MA, PMA®-CPT, MS Student in Applied Statistics

Lab Coordinator at Neurorehabilitation Lab at Teachers College, Columbia University

Research Assistant Center for Cerebral Palsy Research at Teachers College, Columbia University

2)What is the study(ies) you are working on?

I’m currently involved in a number of studies. One study examines the effect of a motor learning camp model on interlimb coordination in children with a unilateral spastic cerebral palsy. Another study Is examining interlimb coordination in hemiplegic populations using both people whom have had a stroke and children with hemiplegic cerebral palsy. The third study I am involved with is looking at a dance intervention in people with Parkinson’s disease and is a collaboration with researchers at Washington University in St. Louis and the Mark Morris Dance Group. Another project is examining the feasibility of using the Microsoft HoloLens in people with Parkinson’s Disease. I am also very involved in a study using wearable technology to quantify physical activity in people with Huntington’s Disease.

3)How did you become interested in this line of research?

My background was a professional dancer. Much of my dance career was spent working in a physically integrated dance company working with dancers with Parkinson’s Disease, Cerebral Palsy, dancers who were deaf, blind or had amputations. At the same time, I was working as a certified Pilates instructor working with rehab populations. These experiences of working with movement in impaired populations piqued my intellectual curiosity and research interests, which led me to enroll in the Master’s Program in Motor Learning and Control at Teachers College, Columbia University.

4)What have you learned so far?

Currently, all of these projects are still in the development phase or data collection phase. This means that we have not run analysis on any of the data. Therefore, I cannot speak to what we have learned yet.

5)What have been the most rewarding aspect of working on this study?

The most rewarding part of the process has been working with the participants. Getting to interact with people and share what I do is the best.

6)What is the most frustrating aspect of working on this study?

The most frustrating part is when you run into issues with non-core technology and have to spend lots of time problem solving to get it back up and running.

7)How might this study have an impact on the general public?

These studies definitely have the potential to have an impact on rehabilitation strategies for impaired populations. For example, if we find that using the Microsoft HoloLens is feasible for use by people with Parkinson’s disease, it will allow us to work on developing invention models using augmented reality that project holographic images into the user’s vision.

8)What are important future directions for this line of research?

The broad aim is to develop effective interventions to improve function and quality of life in these impaired populations. The findings from one study always open up further questions. It’s still a bit early to say what these future questions will be without findings from our current studies. However, wearable technology is definitely something that is picking up interest by the general public as well as augmented and virtual reality.

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