Current Research Studies

The ongoing research at the Abilities Research Center (ARC) focuses on technology-driven solutions to improve therapies for treatment and system management.

We bring hope to those living with neurological disabilities caused by a host of afflictions, including spinal cord injury, stroke, traumatic brain injury, and Parkinson’s disease.

Our neurological recovery areas include:

  • Mental health and cognitive recovery
  • Motor recovery
  • Movement disorders
  • Pain and sensory recovery

Participating in Research

As researchers, we are constantly striving to discover and develop new and improved therapies for treatment and symptom management. In order to innovate, we need your help. Your involvement in research today can lead to breakthrough technological advances for the treatment of disabling neurological conditions.

Immersive Virtual Reality for Chronic Neuropathic Pain After Spinal Cord Injury: A Feasibility Trial

  • Trial Identifier: NCT03592394
  • Sponsor: New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) Spinal Cord Injury Research Board (SCIRB)
  • Objective: The aim of this study is to provide critical information about the efficacy of Immersive Virtual Reality (IVR) in decreasing the experience of neuropathic pain in the upper and lower extremities of people with spinal cord injury. In addition, we will investigate the neurophysiology underlying pain reduction. This information will provide invaluable insights that can be used to guide accessible and affordable chronic-pain rehabilitation strategies.
  • Criteria: Individuals with chronic spinal cord injury and presence of neuropathic pain in upper or and lower extremity
  • Duration: Study participants will undergo 20 minutes of Virtual Reality intervention, three times per week, during four weeks
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. David Putrino, PhD; Co-Investigator: Dr. Mar Cortes, MD
  • Dates: 2018 – open-ended
  • Contact: abilitiesresearchcenter@mountsinai.org

The Evaluation of an EEG-based Concussion System

  • Trial identifier: NCT03710109
  • Sponsor: HeadSafe Pty. Ltd
  • Objective: Conduct a clinical trial of an electroencephalography (EEG) based concussion system to determine the accuracy of the device at concussion detection. The outputs from the device will be compared to a physician's diagnosis. Each assessment with the device will take approximately 15 minutes. Participants will complete testing with the device at their initial medical consultation post-injury and at up to five follow-up visits post-injury.
  • Criteria: Group A: People with sustained suspected concussion (‘play safe line’); Group B: Healthy controls
  • Duration: Group A: 28 days; Group B: 30 minutes, 1 session
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. David Putrino, PhD
  • Dates: October 2018 – open ended
  • Contact: abilitiesresearchcenter@mountsinai.org

Immersive Virtual Reality for Chronic Neuropathic Pain: A Feasibility Trial

  • Sponsor: Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Objective: The aim of this study is to investigate the therapeutic effects of virtual reality (VR) on reducing chronic neuropathic pain (CNP) for people who are HIV positive or living with CNP from diabetes.
  • Criteria: People with HIV and diabetes who experience chronic neuropathic pain
  • Duration: The VR Intervention will be done three times per week, over four weeks
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. David Putrino, PhD
  • Dates: 2018 – open-ended
  • Contact: abilitiesresearchcenter@mountsinai.org

Automated Active and Passive Estimation of a Standard Motor Assessment Score in Patients with Ischemic or Hemorrhagic Stroke

  • Sponsor: Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Objective: This a two-phase observational study. Phase 1 is a derivation study. The first goal of the first phase is to create an algorithm to calculate the motor score of the Fugl-Meyer Assessment (mFMA) from patients who are also performing this assessment while wearing nine-degree-of-freedom motion capture sensors. The second goal of Phase 1 is to then use the algorithm from the first goal and to estimate the motor portion of the mFMA on a patient wearing the motion capture sensors for two hours of spontaneous recording. Phase 2 will be a validation phase of the algorithm found in Phase 1.
  • Criteria: Individuals who have been admitted to a Mount Sinai hospital for a recent stroke
  • Duration: Functional and impairment assessments scales and other passive monitoring will last two hours. Each Fugl-Meyer Assessment takes approximately 20 minutes.
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Christopher Kellner, MD; Co-Investigator: Dr. David Putrino, PhD
  • Dates: 2017 – open-ended
  • Location: Mount Sinai Health System
  • Contact: abilitiesresearchcenter@mountsinai.org

Q-Lab: Quantifying Impairments in Individuals Undergoing Deep Brain Stimulation

  • Sponsor: Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Objective: 1) Derive an algorithm to automatically calculate the scores of several gold-standard assessments used in DBS candidate patients by tracking both the motor and non-motor symptoms of patients using computerized versions of gold-standard assessments and novel biometric monitoring devices. 2) Build a predictive model that can classify responders and non-responders to DBS implantation surgery across diagnosis.
  • Criteria: Individuals under consideration for the DBS practice
  • Duration: Indefinitely
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Allison Waters, PhD; Co-Investigator(s): Dr. David Putrino, PhD, Dr. Helen Mayberg, MD
  • Dates: 2019 – Open
  • Location: Mount Sinai West
  • Contact: Dr. Allison Waters, PhD

A Cognitive Reappraisal Intervention for Suicide Prevention (CRISP)

  • Trial Identifier: NCT03026127
  • Sponsor: National Institutes of Health: National Institute of Mental Health (R33: MH110542)
  • Objective: The goal of this project is to refine and test a novel emotion-regulation based psychosocial intervention designed to reduce suicide risk in middle-aged and older adults (50-90 years old) who have been discharged after a suicide-related hospitalization (i.e. for suicidal ideation or suicide attempt). Suicide rates in this group are alarmingly high, and reducing suicide rates in at-risk populations is a major NIMH priority.
    The Investigators developed a novel psychosocial intervention called "Cognitive Reappraisal Intervention for Suicide Prevention (CRISP)," which aims to improve cognitive reappraisal ability (target) and reduce suicide risk (outcome).
    The conceptual framework views suicidal ideation and behavior as failed attempts to regulate negative emotions and by improving cognitive reappraisal, an effective emotion regulation strategy, the investigators expect to reduce suicide risk. This theory is supported by studies showing that unsuccessful attempts to regulate negative emotions and decreased cognitive reappraisal are associated with increased suicidal ideation and behavior.
  • Criteria: Middle-aged and older adults after a suicide-related hospitalization.
  • Duration: 24 weeks
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Dimitris Kiosses, PhD; Consultant: Dr. David Putrino, PhD.
  • Dates: 2016 – 2021
  • Location: New York Presbyterian (Upper East Side, New York City; White Plains, Westchester County)
  • Contact: Clinicaltrials.gov - NCT03026127

Neuroplasticity After Spinal Cord Injury

  • Sponsor: Mount Sinai Health System
  • Objective: This study will elicit targeted dependent plasticity within the spinal cord and the primary motor cortex by using non-invasive brain and peripheral nerve stimulation to enhance voluntary motor output.
  • Criteria: People with complete or incomplete SCI, less than one year after injury, some degree of motor dysfunction in lower extremities, and ability to move the ankle.
  • Duration: Attendance three times per week for six weeks, one-hour sessions.
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Maria del Mar Cortes
  • Dates: 2019 – open-ended
  • Contact: abilitiesresearchcenter@mountsinai.org

Mapping Cortical Changes After Upper Extremity Robotic Training in Chronic Spinal Cord Injury

  • Sponsor: Mount Sinai
  • Objective/Goals: The objective of this project is to determine the capacity for intensive rehabilitation to reorganize cortical motor networks after SCI. We will determine the effects of robotic rehabilitation on dexterous hand movements and cortical motor map changes in tetraplegic patients with spinal cord injury.
  • Criteria: 18-70 years old. Spinal cord injury with cervical lesion (C4-C7), some degree of motor dysfunction in the hand muscles, absence of epilepsy/seizures, absence of metal in the skull.
  • Duration: Eight weeks of robotic training, three times per week, one-hour sessions
  • Principal Investigator(s): Dr. Maria del Mar Cortes, Dr. David Putrino.
  • Dates: 2019 – open-ended
  • Contact: abilitiesresearchcenter@mountsinai.org

Problem Adaptation Therapy for Mild Cognitive Impairment and Depression (PATH-MCI)

  • Trial Identifier: NCT03043573
  • Sponsor: National Institutes of Health: National Institute on Aging (R01: AG050514)
  • Objective: The present collaborative R01 study, between Cornell University and Johns Hopkins University, aims to compare Problem Adaptation Therapy for Mild Cognitively Impaired Older Adults (PATH-MCI) vs. Supportive Therapy for Cognitively Impaired Older Adults (ST-CI) in improving cognitive, affective, and functioning outcomes.
  • Criteria: Older adults with mild cognitive impairment and depression.
  • Duration: 52 weeks
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Dimitris Kiosses, PhD; Consultant: Dr. David Putrino, PhD
  • Dates: 2016 – 2021
  • Location: New York Presbyterian (Upper East Side, New York City; White Plains, Westchester County), Johns Hopkins University
  • Contact: Clinicaltrials.gov - NCT03043573

Bio-inspired Soft Robotic Glove for Rehabilitation and Assistance of Spinal Cord Injury Individuals

  • Sponsor: Mount Sinai
  • Objective: The goal of the proposed study is to develop algorithms for automatic assessment of hand function and adaptive assistance control (aim1), investigate improvements in hand function in people with SCI using soft robotic glove (aim 2), and to explore the therapeutic effect that results from rehabilitation training using the soft robotic glove (aim 3).
  • Criteria: Healthy volunteers and people with spinal cord injury, 18 to 70 years old; chronic injury (more than one year after injury), motor complete/incomplete, presence of some degree of hand muscle dysfunction.
  • Duration: Six weeks of training, three times per week
  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Maria del Mar Cortes; Co-Investigator: Hao Su
  • Dates: 2019 – open-ended
  • Contact: abilitiesresearchcenter@mountsinai.org