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Breast Cancer, Mobility, and Sleep Disorder Research

By Nicky Miller 

At Kessler Foundation, research in breast cancer, mobility and sleep disorders is performed to find treatments and help rehabilitate lives.

Studies in Sleep/Wake Disorder
At the Center for Traumatic Brain Injury Research at Kessler Foundation, Anthony Lequerica, PhD, senior research scientist, studies neurological disorders. His research includes, sleep/wake disorders after brain injury and exploring how cultural issues influence rehabilitation outcomes. Sleep/wake disorders are common after a brain injury, and can cause difficulty at work, finding employment, when socializing, and more. Living with a sleep condition himself, Dr. Lequerica has dealt with narcolepsy and was inspired to focus his research in this area. Dr. Lequerica, is motivated to improve neuropsychological testing and cognitive rehabilitation interventions for Spanish-speakers and other underserved populations.

“Narcolepsy diverted me from my plans to go to medical school, but put me on a path to a career for which I have a great deal of passion,” says Dr. Lequerica. “With hard work and perseverance and support from family and friends, I earned my PhD, it took a long time, but I did it. I learned many important lessons about accepting my limitations and educating others about disability, and I gained new-found empathy with others with disabilities.”

Learn about narcolepsy and cataplexy in this video based on Dr. Lequerica’s personal experience.

Mobility Research
Center for Mobility and Rehabilitation Engineering Research, led by Guang Yeu, PhD, specializes in research to help individuals with motor disabilities. Senior Research Scientist, Karen Nolan, PhD, works with the exoskeleton, a device that enables individuals who sustained a spinal cord injury to walk. Gait and balance training along with the Keeogo, an exoskeleton-like device assists with developing mobility for people with disabilities. The Center is diverse in its research, providing studies in autism, stroke, cerebral palsy arthritis, and brain injury. In addition, collaborating with other institutions including Children’s Specialized Hospital, for pediatric studies, help to improve mobility and quality of life for children.  

In this video, Dr. Nolan discusses robotics and how we can retrain the biomechanics of our body.

  • VIDEO: In this TedxHerndon talk, Karen J. Nolan, PhD, discusses the use of robotics for stroke rehabilitation, explaining how to re-train the body's biomechanics.

Breast Cancer Research
At the Center for Mobility and Rehabilitation Engineering Research, breast cancer studies are performed and state-of-the-art technology is used to find ways to improve treatment. Research scientist, Didier Allexandre, PhD, is conducting research on the structural and functional changes related to psychomotor impairment following chemotherapy in breast cancer patients. In line with prior work on the potential benefit and mechanism of mental imagery in rehabilitation, he is a co-investigator in a National Institute of Health grant, aimed at studying the benefit of high mental concentration/effort during physical exercise training in breast cancer patients with symptoms of weakness.

Dr. Allexandre’s podcast playlist on breast cancer:

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