Dr. Krishnan Receives a New NIH R01 Grant

Posted Date: May 30, 2023 1:36:15 PM

Prof. Chandramouli Krishnan and Prof. Elliott Rouse are embarking on a study that may ultimately improve the mobility and rehabilitation outcomes for over 40 million stroke survivors worldwide who experience persistent walking difficulties. Supported by a $3.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, this research will focus on how stroke and Botulinum Neurotoxin, a common medication for reducing joint stiffness and spasticity, affect the two fundamental properties, stiffness and viscosity, of the ankle joint during human walking.

Ankle joint stiffness and viscosity are often overlooked in the clinical decision-making process, but have a direct impact on an individual's walking ability. Contrary to previous beliefs that ankle joint stiffness and viscosity both increase following a stroke, recent studies have revealed that these parameters remain unchanged or can even decrease compared to the unaffected side of the body. This misconception shows the need to investigate and understand the mechanics involved in order to develop more effective treatments.

The project will also evaluate how Botulinum Neurotoxin (BoNT) injections affect these properties and its implications for mobility. Studying these mechanics is especially crucial because BoNT injections may further reduce ankle joint stiffness and viscosity, potentially hindering mobility. 

Beyond understanding the changes in ankle stiffness and viscosity post-stroke, the researchers will develop a tool to easily measure these characteristics within the clinical setting. 

The research team includes Dr. Edward Claflin and Dr. James Richardson, with expertise in physical medicine and stroke rehabilitation, and Dr. Corey Powell from the U-M Center of Statistical Consulting and Research. 

The project is funded by NIH grant 1R01HD111567-01, “Functional implications of stroke and Botulinum Neurotoxin on ankle stiffness and viscosity during gait.” Prof. Rouse holds an appointment in Robotics and Mechanical Engineering, and Prof. Krishnan holds appointments in UM Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Biomedical Engineering, Robotics, and Kinesiology, as well as in UM-Flint Physical Therapy.