Shirley Ryan AbilityLab doctor with patient

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Parkinson's Disease & Movement Disorder Research

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PDMD Program

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The Shirley Ryan AbilityLab is not just a new research hospital, it’s a new kind of research hospital, one that is revolutionizing the future of rehabilitation and creating a new category of medicine. It is designed explicitly for the practice of “translational medicine” — a new model for medical care in which research is applied directly (translated) during patient care.

We have the largest rehabilitation-focused research program in the country, having attracted millions of dollars in funding. At present, we have more than 350 clinical studies underway — many of which tie directly to our PDMD program. Our program offers a wide range of research opportunities for the motor, cognitive, behavioral and emotional aspects of PDMD.

Our studies focus on:

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  • Effects of non-pharmacological treatments (e.g., physical and cognitive exercise) on symptoms, daily function,
  • work abilities, quality of life and caregiver stress
  • Outcome measures related to non-pharmacological therapies such as exercise and physical, occupational and speech-language therapy
  • Bionics, robotics and wearable sensors to understand, identify and improve motor and non-motor symptoms
  • Biomarkers and neuroimaging to advance understanding of and treat motor and non-motor symptoms
  • Data science to track disease progression and treatment responses in order to personalize care

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