2011 Doctor of Physical Therapy Research Presentations
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2011 Doctor of Physical Therapy Research Presentations

The research component of the curriculum in the doctoral program in physical therapy is comprised of 4 courses culminating in the completion of a group research project or scholarly project.  Faculty participate in the work of each group as mentors.  Current projects are listed below along with a picture of the students involved.

DPT Research Students: Peter Barone, Caitlin O’Meara, Jennifer Corbett, Alyssa Itzkowitz

Title: The Effects of a Mechanical Lift Sling on Seat Interface Pressure and Quantifying Seated Posture
Faculty Advisor: Barbara Crane

It is common for staff to leave patients sitting on slings after transferring to a wheelchair.  The effects of this seat sling on skin pressure and the potential development of pressure ulcers is unknown.  Therefore, in our first project, we worked with a local rehab clinic to use a pressure mapping system to investigate the effects of the sling on pressure.  In our second project, we used new tools and technologies to measure seated posture of people who use wheelchairs.  In collaboration with researchers in Japan, our results may ultimately influence how seating posture is measured.

DPT Student Research: Anne Yanaway, Michelle Tinnes, Jason Greenwood, Cassandra Webb, Cortney Hansen, Noelle Korbut

Title: The Effects of Locomotor Training on Gait and Balance in an Adult with Chronic Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury: A Pilot Study
Advisors: Noelle Kisela, Catherine Certo, Kevin Ball

Under the direct supervision of physical therapist Noelle Kisela from Hospital for Special Care, students conducted research on the locomotor training of one patient with Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury. The protocol to be examined was a combination of the research done by the Neuro Recovery Network (NRN). The NRN prescribes locomotor training five times a week, whereas the current protocol will examine training three times a week for 90 minute sessions. This research project examined if locomotor training at a lesser frequency (more practical in most physical therapy clinics) produced comparable outcomes to the NRN protocol in measurements of balance, mobility, and patient confidence/satisfaction.

DPT Student Research: Peter Korwek, Catherine Howard, Jason White

Title:  Computer Assisted Learning (CAL) Modules: Update
Faculty Advisors: Mary Gannotti, Diana Veneri

This project is the continuation of an ongoing research in collaboration with Dr. Veneri, Computer Assisted Learning (CAL) in Neurologic Rehabilitation. Students analyzed, edited, and streamed video of a variety of patients with neurologic dysfunction to create CAL modules. CAL modules were incorporated into the physical therapy curriculum and their impact was evaluated.  This clinical teaching/learning research influences how physical therapy education material is conveyed to students for optimal retention and clinical reasoning.

DPT Student Research: Cathryn Lefebvre, David Parolise, Marissa Gibilisco

Title:  Happiness in Adults with Cerebral Palsy: Update
Faculty Advisors:  Mary Gannotti, Yvette Blanchard, Lisa Blumberg, Diana LaRocco

This project is a continuation of ongoing research in collaboration with DPT III students and local investigators on definitions of happiness in adults with cerebral palsy. Students were involved in the recruitment of subjects, performing interviewing, and transcribing interviews/data analysis.  Conclusions were meaningful to practicing clinicians who work with patients with disabilities.

DPT Student Research: Hannah Chase, Jenna Michaud, Elizabeth Foster, Aditi Chandan, Kathryn Terry, Heather Francoeur

Title:  Turning and Falling: How Centripetal Acceleration Affects Balance
Faculty Advisor: Adam Goodworth

Although most gait research investigates straight ahead walking, natural movements are curvilinear (involving turns). Curvilinear motion is associated with centripetal accelerations.  Students investigated how centripetal accelerations influence standing and walking balance.  Students constructed a device to generate centripetal accelerations and tested subjects.  Results further our understanding of how people compensate for physical forces to keep balance.

DPT Student Research: Lowell Windon III LMT, Michael Johnson CSCS, Katherine Hews, Peter Cassels, Bryan Mehigen CSCS, Patrick Chasse ATC

Title:  A Comparison between the Application of a Light Emitting Diode versus Therapeutic Ultrasound in the Treatment of Plantar Fasciitis.
Faculty Advisor: Paul Higgins

The Light Emitting Diode (LED) is a new and relatively unknown modality with claims attached to it that its use can enhance tissue healing, control pain and decrease edema at the cellular level.  In this project, we made a direct comparison between a rehabilitation protocols using LED vs. the use of ultrasound compared to a sham (control condition).  Students worked directly with patients being treated for plantar fasciitis and investigated a very relevant clinical intervention in this research study.

DPT Student Research: Jonathan Bartlett, Jennifer Gaewsky, Melissa Charlwood, Kacey Busque, Nicole Gilpin, Eric Tietz

Title:  Reliability and Validity of Clinical Measures Used During the Lower Kinetic Chain Examination
Faculty Advisors: Bruce Elliott, Kevin Ball, John Leard

Lower kinetic chain theory suggests that as the foot hits the ground, a predictable “chain reaction” of forces causes specific movements of the lower extremity to occur. Over decades, belief in this theory has led clinical scholars to propose, develop, and conduct certain measurements to quantify characteristics of the foot, ankle, and the rest of the chain. While various clinical tests and measures have been tested individually for reliability (and less frequently for validity), few studies have attempted to test the overall concept of the “chain reaction”.  Students investigated the clinically relevant topic of the kinetic chain and presented results about the reliability and validity of clinical measures during examination.