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2017-03-23news-articleNews<p>The Motion Analysis Laboratory at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital has launched a study entitled &ldquo;EMG modules as a novel biomarker of basal ganglia plasticity in Parkinson&rsquo;s disease&rdquo;.</p>

Spaulding Motion Analysis Lab Receives Grant from Michael J. Fox Foundation for Study to Identify Biomarker for Parkinsons Disease

March 23,  2017

(Boston, MA)- The Motion Analysis Laboratory at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital has launched a study entitled “EMG modules as a novel biomarker of basal ganglia plasticity in Parkinson’s disease”. Researchers at Spaulding intend to investigate if it is possible to use muscle activity patterns as a biomarker for Parkinson’s disease. The study funded by the Michael J. Fox Foundation aims to identify specific characteristics of muscle activity that could be linked to changes within the brain that are associated with Parkinson’s disease.

Currently, there is no definitive, objective biomarker or test to diagnose Parkinson’s disease and monitor its progression. A Parkinson’s disease biomarker – i.e. a substance or subject’s characteristic associated with disease presence or that changes over time in a way that can be linked to the disease progression - would revolutionize clinical care.  Paolo Bonato, PhD, Director of the Spaulding Motion Analysis Lab, serves as the principal investigator on the study and Jean-Francois Daneault, PhD serves as the project lead in the laboratory.

“We hope the results of this investigation will make a significant difference in our ability to diagnose and monitor the progression on Parkinson’s disease”, says Dr. Bonato.

The study team is looking for individuals that have just been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and are not taking any related medications as well as healthy volunteers.  Participants will be compensated for their time.  The study requires from 1 to 4 visits to Spaulding to complete the study.

Individuals can visit to learn more about the study and to learn more about the Motion Analysis Laboratory at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.

About the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

Founded in 1971, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston is one of the largest rehabilitation facilities in the United States, and is ranked the 5th top rehabilitation hospital in the country by U.S. News & World Report. As the official teaching hospital of the Harvard Medical School Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R), Spaulding is at the forefront of research in advances in rehabilitative care. In April 2013, Spaulding opened a new 132-bed facility in Charlestown which is a national model for environmental and inclusive design. With a wide range of inpatient programs and 25 outpatient centers throughout Eastern Massachusetts, Spaulding strives to continually update and improve its programs to offer patients the latest, high-quality care through its leading, expert providers. Spaulding has been awarded a Model Systems designation in three specialty areas- Brain Injury, Spinal Cord Injury and Burn Injury Rehabilitation- by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research. For more information, please visit