Division of Geriatrics

Dr. Helena Blumen Lands CTSA Research Career Development Award

Dr. Helena Blumen Geriatrics Neurology Albert Einstein College of Medicine Montefiore Medical Center Bronx NY
Helena Blumen, PhD

August 16, 2015 - BRONX, NY - The Einstein-Montefiore Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Consortium has selected Dr. Helena Blumen as the recipient of a research career development award. These awards provide funding for junior faculty with doctoral degrees to devote the majority of their effort to clinical or translational research and training for two to three years.

Over a third of community-residing older adults have clinically diagnosable gait abnormalities, and gait impairment has been linked to an increased risk for morbidity, hospitalization, mortality, cognitive decline, and dementia. Studies in patients with Parkinson’s disease and stroke survivors suggest that envisioning motor actions without physically doing them is an effective rehabilitative tool. Dr. Blumen's career development plan aims to establish the effectiveness of an "imagined gait" protocol (visualization of both walking and walking while talking) for improving gait and cognition in healthy elderly individuals. She predicts that imagined gait can be used as a rehabilitative tool for improving gait in the elderly because it engages and strengthens similar neural systems as actual gait.

Dr. Blumen is Assistant Professor of Medicine (Geriatrics) and of Neurology. She is a cognitive psychologist with particular expertise and training in human memory, cognitive aging, and cognitive neuroscience. Her previous research has examined the potential for using collaboration as a tool to improve memory, and computer-based actions games as a tool to improve executive control. The ultimate goal of her laboratory-based studies is to develop and test interventions that can be used to optimize cognition in community-dwelling older adults, as well as older adults that reside in nursing homes or naturally-occurring retirement communities.

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