The study examined to what extent a sensory training of body leads to improvements in motor function. The study found that a short 45-min training is already sufficient to see changes in the accuracy of perceiving joint position and joint movement. This project was a collaboration with engineering colleagues at Nanyang Technological University of Singapore and Harvard University, USA. Co-authors are former HSCL member Joshua Aman, Ph.D. and lab director Jürgen Konczak, Ph.D.
Konczak’s former advisee Yu-Ting Tseng, Ph.D. (2017), is also an author on the article. She is currently a post-doc at the Division of Child Health Research, Institute of Population Health Sciences in the National Health Research Institutes (NHRI) in Zhunan, Taiwan.
Co-authors are Chui-Hui Chang, Fu-Chen Chen, and Wei-Jhong Zeng, all researchers at the Department of Physical Education at the National Kaohsiung Normal University in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Chui-Hui Chang and Fu-Chen Chen received their Ph.D. in kinesiology from the University of Minnesota, where they were co-advised by Dr. Michael Wade and Stoffregen.
Jürgen Konczak, Ph.D., professor in the School of Kinesiology is the principal investigator on an NIH funded grant program administered through the University’s Office of Discovery and Translation that seeks to promote new therapies for rare diseases. The project will design and build a device that will improve the symptoms of a voice disorder called spasmodic dysphonia (SD).
People with SD experience involuntary spasms of the laryngeal musculature that leads to a strained or choked speech. There is no cure for the disease and speech therapy is ineffective. The device will alter how it feels when one speaks. The idea behind the technology is that this sensory trick will help patients to improve their voice quality. The device development and its testing will be conducted in Konczak’s Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory.
Arash Mahnan, biomedical engineer and doctoral student in the HSC lab will serve as primary research assistant for this project.
Yu-Ting Tseng, Ph.D., 2017 graduate of the School of Kinesiology in the Biomechanics and Neuromotor Control emphasis, has been awarded a post-doc position in the Division of Child Health Research, Institute of Population Health Sciences in the National Health Research Institutes (NHRI) in Zhunan, Taiwan, starting in November. She will be conducting a study on the effect of different types of exercise intervention on the motor, cognitive and overall physical and mental functions in children and older adults. She may also assist in evaluating the status and needs for special needs populations.
PACE stands for Perception and Action in Complex Environments. The network is funded by the European Union and seeks to train predoctoral students with a background in engineering, mathematics, neuroscience, and psychology.
Arash Mahnan, Kinesiology Ph.D. student and IT Fellow, is one of three people featured in the Global Programs and Strategy Alliance online newsletter, Global U, promoting Driven: The University of Minnesota Campaign, the first system-wide fundraising campaign at the U of M in more than a decade. The Alliance has set a goal of raising $7 million to “Drive a Global U.”
Mahnan discusses his goal to fill the gap between engineering and clinical research, and the imperative to attract top students and faculty from around the world to come to the University of Minnesota. He is a student in the area of biomechanics and neural control and is advised by Juergen Konczak, Ph.D.
This program prepares scientists and engineers to extend their focus beyond the university laboratory and to accelerate basic-research projects that are ready to move toward commercialization. The aim of this grant is to move forward the lab’s robotic rehabilitation technology that is jointly developed with partners in Italy and Singapore. As part of this grant, a team consisting of postdoctoral researcher Naveen Elangovan (entrepreneurial lead), Jürgen Konczak and Pat Tarnowski as a business adviser is formed. Pat is a trained PT with an MBA and is currently the Senior Director of Clinical Health Solutions at BCBS of Minnesota. The team will work closely with NSF staff and advisers to explore and understand the U.S. market.
Arash Mahnan, Kinesiology Ph.D. student in Movement Science, has been appointed to the University’s Senate Information Technologies Committee (SITC). The committee represents the institution’s faculty, academic professional, civil service and student interests in the development, implementation, and distribution of information technologies at the U. The committee reports to the Senate and makes recommendations concerning policies and administration around information technologies.
The committee meets monthly and consists of eight faculty, four P&A, three students, and one civil service representative. The students include Mahnan, a representative from the Department of Engineering and one from the College of Continuing Education. The student representatives were chosen based on their background, experience and qualifications in the field of information technology. Mahnan will serve a two-year term on the committee.
School of Kinesiology professor Tom Stoffregen, Ph.D., was interviewed on Take Care, a radio program on health and wellness that originates at station WRVO in Oswego, NY. Co-hosts Lorraine Rapp and Linda Lowen interviewed Stoffregen about his research related to motion sickness.
The interview was broadcast on Saturday, July 15, and again on Sunday, July 16. The full interview is on the Take Care website and on iTunes, and the preview clip is here.
His Hungarian hosts comprised researchers with backgrounds in mathematics, physics, and cognitive neuroscience with an interest in modeling human movement and translating this knowledge to help patients with spinal cord injuries to regain function. The Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Magyar Tudományos Akadémia) is the most important and prestigious academic society of Hungary. Its main responsibilities are the cultivation of science, dissemination of scientific findings, supporting research and development and representing Hungarian science domestically and around the world.
Dr. Wade and Dr. Konczak first gave two keynote addresses at the China Preschool Children Health Conference held in Suzhou, a fast-growing modern city outside Shanghai. They then visited Shanxi University in Taiyuan, the capital city in Shanxi province in northwestern China with 4.2 million people. Next they traveled by high-speed rail to Tianjin, where they presented at Tianjin Sport University, a long-time partner of the School of Kinesiology. Their final lecture was at Hebei Universityin Shijiazhuan, where the first modern higher education institution in China was founded in 1895.
Kinesiology professors Juergen Konczak, Ph.D., and Michael Wade, Ph.D., addressed over 700 attendees of the Suzhou International Conference on Child Health Development. The conference centered around themes of how early childhood education best promotes cognitive, social, sensory and motor development. Suzhou is a city of about 10.5 million people in southeastern China. Kinesiology professor Li Li Ji, Ph.D., also attended the conference.
“Why would anyone pay $600 for something that makes you toss your cookies?” Stoffregen asks in the article. He argues that companies who sell VR games are not dealing with changing the designs of the games, but are simply changing their liability rules should consumers become ill.
The article discusses Stoffregen’s research extensively, as well as studies being conducted by the Mayo Clinic, which may provide answers to the problems with nausea and sickness related to VR and VR applications across a broad spectrum.
Thomas J. Smith, Ph.D., adjunct lecturer for the School of Kinesiology, is first author on a paper presented at the recently concluded 12th International Conference on Occupational Stress and Health, “Work, Stress and Health 2017: Contemporary Challenges and Opportunities,” that convened in Minneapolis June 7-10. The paper is titled, ‘The Productivity Paradox – A Distracted Working Hypothesis.’ The paper also will be published in the conference proceedings.