Completed Research Studies

Over the course of our history, the Abilities Research Center has completed many important research studies that have improved the lives of patients. We have been at the forefront of innovation that treats and empowers patients who are overcoming adversity, including individuals with spinal cord injuries, neuromuscular disorders, and those who have suffered strokes.

WISE (Walking Improvement for SCI with Exoskeletons) Study

  • Sponsor: Ekso
  • Objective: This randomized and controlled study evaluated improvement in independent gait speeds of spinal cord injury (SCI) patients undergoing rehabilitation with the Ekso GT, the Ekso Bionics’ medical robotic exoskeleton. These results were compared to both conventional therapy and usual care control groups.
  • Dates: 2016 – 2018

Investigation of a Novel Wearable Device for Treating Tremor in Parkinson’s Disease

  • Sponsor: Not Impossible Foundation
  • Objective: The goal of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of a novel, wearable device at reducing resting tremors in individuals with Parkinson’s disease.
  • Role: Principal Investigator Dr. David Putrino, PhD
  • Dates: 2017 – 2018

Combined transcranial direct current stimulation and hand robotic training in chronic SCI

  • Trial Identifier: NCT03555838
  • Sponsor: New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) Spinal Cord Injury Research Board (SCIRB)
  • New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) Spinal Cord Injury Research Board (SCIRB)
  • Objective: The purpose of this study is to improve hand function combining transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and innovative interactive hand robotic training in people with chronic SCI. We also aim to investigate the mechanisms of motor recovery and to characterize the neurophysiological profile of patients and specific muscles that respond to robotic motor training by using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS).
  • Role: Principal Investigator Dr. Kathleen Friel, MD; Co-Investigator: Dr. Mar Cortes
  • Dates: 2016 – 2018

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation and Robotic Training in Chronic Stroke

  • Sponsor: NIH R01 HD069776
  • Objective: The major goal of this project is to evaluate whether multiple sessions of combined tDCS and robotic upper limb training in chronic hemiplegia, leads to a sustained clinical improvement in motor function after stroke.
  • Role: Principal Investigator Dr. Dylan Edwards; Research Associate: Dr. Mar Cortes
  • Dates: 2012 – 2017

Non-invasive Stimulation for Improving Motor Function in Spinal Cord Injury

  • Sponsor: NIH, R21 HD085094
  • Objective: The combination of central magnetic stimulation (corticospinal tract) and peripheral electrical stimulation (Ia afferent) targeting the spinal cord can modify the spinal circuitry (H-reflex) when applied in a synchronous manner. Our hypothesis is that spinal excitability can be up-regulated following the spinal associative stimulation (SAS) protocol in chronic incomplete SCI patients, and that this will be associated with improved motor performance.
  • Role: Principal Investigator Dr. Dylan Edwards; Co-Investigator: Dr. Mar Cortes
  • Dates: 2013 – 2015

Red Bull High Performance

Dr. David Putrino, PhD and Dr. Maria del Mar Cortes, MD investigated various aspects of human performance in collaboration with Red Bull, an energy drink company, to produce Red Bull High Performance. We work with both amateur and elite athletes in order to understand the physiology and psychology surrounding the limits of human performance. In collaboration with Red Bull High Performance we have completed high impact projects such as Project Endurance 2.0, Project Endurance 3.0 and Red Bull Surf Science.