A Misericordia University faculty-student research team placed second in the STEM category at the 16th Annual Undergraduate Research at the Capitol Pennsylvania Poster Conference in April.
Misericordia University student researchers Brandon Dean of Monroeville, N.J., and Tristan Snyder of Bloomsburg collaborated with Associate Professor Maureen Romanow Pascal, P.T., D.P.T., N.C.S. on the abstract, “Gait and Reaction Time in Individuals With and Without Parkinson’s Disease.’’
The Department of Physical research team’s work was part of the Misericordia University Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program in 2017. The fellows’ studied the differences in gait (walking) and reaction time in people with and without Parkinson’s disease, and the effects of regular, intensive exercise on the progression of the disease – especially in improving gait and reaction time.
Misericordia’s research team studied 27 individuals of various ages without Parkinson’s disease, and 17 people of various ages with the disease who participated in a controlled exercise program.
The Misericordia research concluded that “exercise play an important role in maintaining function in people with Parkinson’s disease,’’ they wrote. Their work found that people with the disease who exercise regularly have gait and reaction time similar to the subjects in the control group, who do not have Parkinson’s disease.
The findings are instrumental in developing and modifying exercise programs for people with Parkinson’s disease, and adds evidence that high-intensity interval training can reduce progression and possibly improve symptoms.
Undergraduate Research at the Capitol Pennsylvania Poster Conference is an educational event that allows undergraduate students enrolled in the Keystone state’s colleges and universities to highlight their research talents to the Commonwealth’s key decision-makers. Sixty-two institutions participated in the annual event in the East Wing Rotunda of the Capitol Complex in Harrisburg.