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Kessler Foundation Fellow Receives Grant from National Institutes of Health

2013-08-23 12:00:47 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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Rakesh Pilkar, Ph.D., a post-doctoral fellow in Human Performance and Engineering Research at Kessler Foundation, was awarded a R03, $153,000 grant by the National Institutes of Health

WEST ORANGE, N.J. – Rakesh Pilkar, Ph.D., a post-doctoral fellow in Human Performance and Engineering Research at Kessler Foundation, was awarded a R03, $153,000 grant by the National Institutes of Health to study the response levels to function electrical stimulation (FES) interventions in the rehabilitation of stroke patients—titled, “Identification of Responders to the FES Interventions in Stroke Populations” (grant # 1R03NS082950-01). 

“This study will improve our knowledge of FES intervention and help clinicians strategize rehabilitation interventions more effectively based on the responders’ gait characteristics,” said Dr. Pilkar. “Receiving this grant during my postdoctoral training provides me the valuable foundation and the opportunity to establish myself as an independent researcher in the field of neurorehabilitation.”

FES is a rehabilitation technique that uses electrical currents to stimulate muscles in paralyzed or weakened extremities, with the goal of restoring function. This study will analyze the walking patterns of individuals with hemiplegic gait, characterized by weakness on the affected side, with full leg flexion and rotation in a semi-circle to accommodate for foot drop in the weakened leg. Using the 3D Motion Capture System and Electromyogram (EMG) System, Dr. Pilkar will assess the response level to FES interventions and look for the association of the responders’ gait characteristics, including symmetry, while determining proper intervention parameters. The effectiveness of FES in treatment will be measured, and researchers will be able to strategize rehabilitation techniques based on the study’s results.

Dr. Pilkar’s fellowship is funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) through its Advanced Rehabilitation Research Training (ARRT) program (grant # 143298). He is also a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

Recent publication:  Pilkar RB, Yarossi M, Forrest G. Empirical mode decomposition as a tool to remove the function electrical stimulation artifact from surface electromyograms: preliminary investigation. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2012;2012:1847-50. 

About Human Performance and Engineering Research at Kessler Foundation
The mission of Human Performance and Engineering Research at Kessler Foundation is to improve mobility, independence and quality of life for individuals with sensory and motor deficits caused by neurological and musculoskeletal conditions. Researchers develop methods to restore mobility, recover function and control or alleviate fatigue. Robotic technology, functional electrical stimulation, imaging and metabolic measurements are among the tools utilized by researchers. 

About Kessler Foundation
Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility and long-term outcomes, including employment, for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for employment for people with disabilities. For more information, visit KesslerFoundation.org

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Contacts:
Lauren Scrivo, 973.324.8384, 973.768.6583 - c, LScrivo@KesslerFoundation.org
Carolann Murphy, 973.324.8382, CMurphy@KesslerFoundation.org