VPR Keane visited the Gait and Posture Biomechanics Lab of Dr. Robert Catena

Christopher Keane, vice president for research at WSU and vice president for chancellor for research at WSU Pullman, conducted a laboratory safety visit to the Gait and Posture Biomechanics Laboratory. Robert Catena, director of the Gait and Posture Biomechanics Lab and associate professor of Kinesiology, study the reason why pregnant individuals have such a high incidence of falls, pain, and mechanisms to make them safer in their everyday activities.

Pregnant individuals fall at a rate of greater than 25%, similar to elderly adults. Their low back pain rate – greater than 50% – is higher than any other typical group. The neuromuscular issues during pregnancy leading to increased falls and pain have the potential to lead to long-term health consequences. Using various tools including image capture analysis, research participants are studied doing various activities to understand balance control involved in falls, pain, and mechanisms to keep people safer in everyday life.

The causes and effective preventative measures beyond bed rest are unknown. The lab is conducting research primarily in biomechanical, neurocognitive, and physiological contributors to dynamic balance control issues and pain during pregnancy.

The goals are to:

  1. reduce falls and the resultant injuries,
  2. understand how different sensory, cognitive, physiological, and musculoskeletal factors influence balance control in the general population,
  3. develop methods for reducing pain inducing movements.

Beyond these research goals, the lab provides students the opportunity to use some of the most advanced movement analysis equipment, gain experience in conducting scientific research, and develop skills necessary to become exceptional scientists.

More information is found here.