The Biomechanics Core provides an array of techniques and equipment for the precise experimental quantification of physical functioning of healthy and frail elders in order to investigate attributes of the aging phenotype. It also supplies support for theoretical investigations in the form of computer simulation models to analyze the elements of those functional abilities and to establish the major determinants of abilities to perform motor acts in an effective manner. The Core is physically based in the Biomechanics Research Laboratory (directed by Dr. Ashton-Miller) and the Mobility Research Center (directed by Dr. Alexander).
Physical disabilities are epidemic in the elderly. Whatever the underlying pathologies, these disabilities express themselves in biomechanical terms: reduced muscular strengths and rates of developing strengths, limited ranges and speeds of motion, reduced afferent feedback, inappropriate body segment coordination patterns, difficulty with balance and fall arrests, and even impaired pelvic floor and continence system function.
The Biomechanics Core will contribute to the development of academic leaders in geriatrics by helping interested faculty and their fellows to analyze a range of geriatric problems through biomechanical research techniques. Thus, it will train them through directed study involving background reviews, hypothesis generation, interdisciplinary pilot research projects, and data analysis and interpretation to examine issues adversely affecting the physical abilities of the elderly.