Mobility and Falls Research at the Institute for Aging Research

Mobility & Falls Research Resources and Equipment

HSL is an academic senior health care organization, affiliated with Harvard Medical School that provides a network of care for approximately 5,000 elderly people annually. It includes a 625-bed long-term care facility, 46-bed post-acute care unit, 23-bed medical acute care unit, 3 apartment complexes for seniors, two life-care communities, adult day health programs, outpatient clinics, and the Institute for Aging Research. The Institute, which is directed by Dr. Lewis Lipsitz, MD, is an independent, multidisciplinary research institute devoted to improving the quality of life and health for elderly people.  Located within the HSL long-term care facility, 4 miles from Harvard Medical School (HMS), the Institute supports a faculty of medical and social scientists, postdoctoral fellows, a Vice President for Research Administration, and a Director for Research Development.  Faculty members hold appointments in the BIDMC Division of Gerontology and Harvard Medical School.  They are actively involved in research, health care delivery, and the education of physicians, nurses, therapists, and graduate students interested in geriatrics, gerontology, and health care services.  Currently supported by over $46 million of government grants and contracts, IFAR is among the top 10% of US research institutions receiving NIH grants. Active areas of research include: geriatric syndromes such as falls, fractures, osteoporosis, pain, depression, and delirium; Alzheimer's disease and related disorders; palliative care; functional assessment methodology and models of long-term care; the cost and quality of housing and community-based service systems; and the development of instruments to measure quality of life, mental health, and functional outcomes.  Geriatric Medicine Fellows from HMS have staff appointments at HSL, where they learn the medical management of institutionalized elderly, and have the opportunity to conduct research projects with Institute faculty.

IFAR has available a 1670 sq. ft. Clinical Research Laboratory, which is comfortably equipped for the subjects and readily available to the investigators.  Included within the laboratory are an 1100 square foot gait and balance laboratory, which includes a built-in track for gait testing; a 100 square foot interview room; a 120 sq foot exam room; a 150 sq foot human physiologic laboratory for transcranial Doppler (TCD) and blood pressure studies; a 100 square foot sample collection and processing lab; and a 100 square foot sample storage lab, equipped with a -80 degree freezer to house biological samples. Also available in the gait and balance laboratory is the Noraxon telemyo system, a telemetric multi-channel cable free EMG system with capability to assess gait dynamics, muscle function, respiration and cardiovascular data simultaneously in real time.  This wireless system allows for multipurpose noninvasive data acquisition and freedom of movement for capturing subjects’ natural movements.

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