Dec 01 2016 Posted: 11:09 GMT

A public talk on understanding how humans walk and how this might inform treatment of diseases such as Parkinson’s, takes place at NUI Galway next Tuesday, 6 December. Dr John Barden from the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada, will deliver the Flaherty Lecture entitled ‘Walking to the beat of a different drummer: using new technology to quantify patterns of locomotion for the assessment and treatment of disease’.

The public lecture will review some of the basic neuromuscular and biomechanical mechanisms needed for humans to be able to walk. He will also describe how new sensor technologies can be used to record and analyse the rhythmic patterns produced by these mechanisms. This can be used for the assessment and treatment of pathological gait in aging and in various neurological conditions such as Parkinson's disease, Multiple Sclerosis and Mild Cognitive Impairment.

Dr Barden’s area of expertise is in biomechanics and motor control. His current research interests include sensor-based analytics of cyclic movements in health and in sport. Examples of his research include gait variability in conditions such as knee osteoarthritis and stroke mechanics in competitive swimming.

Dr Barden is currently based at NUI Galway on a James M. Flaherty Visiting Professorship. The international exchange programme commemorates the former Canadian Minister for Finance, James M. (Jim) Flaherty, who passed away in 2014. He was awarded an Honorary Degree by NUI Galway in 2012.

The exchange programme is supported by the Irish Canada University Foundation, a collaborative organisation between the governments of Canada and Ireland whose mandate is to facilitate academic and cultural links between the two countries.

Dr Barden is collaborating with Professor Gearóid Ó Laighin and Dr Leo Quinlan of NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics and the Discipline of Physiology . “I’m very grateful to the Ireland Canada University Foundation (ICUF), which through the Flaherty Visiting Professorship, has provided me with the opportunity to visit NUI Galway and collaborate with Professor Ó Laighin and Dr Quinlan on mutually beneficial research related to gait variability and mobility impairments in Parkinson’s disease.”

This talk will be of interest to students from a variety of disciplines including physiology, medicine, engineering and kinesiology, as well as members of the general public who have an interest in science, technology and health. The event takes place on Tuesday, 6 December, at 6pm in the ground floor of the Engineering Building, room ENG-G017.

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