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Motor and Cognitive Control Lab



Our lab is interested in how aging and neurological disorders limits exercise and movement in humans. Our current research examines the benefits of exercise and movement training on motor function in individuals with Parkinson's disease.

Current Projects

Development of an intelligent bicycle for rehabilitation in Parkinson’s disease (SmartBike).

Our primary project is funded with by a National Institutes of Health research grant.  The objective of this project was to construct an instrumented cycle and use this as a clinical tool to examine the associations between rider performance and changes in motor function. Results from this study are being utilized to provide an effective platform for researching the underlying mechanisms for improvements in motor function and for readily implementing a feedback system that can dynamically optimize the benefits of exercise in individuals with Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders. Future studies will use programmable aspects of the system enable customized cycling regimens for individuals with widely varying capabilities to be easily implemented.

Enhanced Exercise Therapy for Patients with PD (EXCEED).

This project is in collaboration with Martha Sajatovic MD and Benjamin Walter MD at Case Western Reserve University/University Hospital.  EXCEED uses guided exercise in conjunction with a peer co-led psychoeducation model to target depressive, motor and cognitive symptoms in people with PD.  Given the increasing evidence that non-motor symptoms are both the least well- treated and can have the greatest impact on quality of life in people with PD, the public health significance of the proposed project is substantial.

Segmental vibration therapy and delayed onset muscle soreness (BMS-DOMS).

The purpose of this investigation is to analyze the effect of the Swisswing biomechanical muscle stimulation (BMS) unit – a localized vibration apparatus – on plasma creatine kinase and lactate levels following intense eccentric cycling exercise to determine if Swisswing use increases lactate clearing and the rate of recovery. Secondary and tertiary purposes of this study are to determine if localized vibration post-exercise decreases delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and pain perception and improved blood flow in a 48-hour period of time.

PD-Cog Study.

The primary aim of this project is to examine the effects of an exercise intervention on cognition, motor function and cerebral blood flow in individuals with Parkinson’s disease. This project is currently ongoing and is in collaboration with Drs. John Gunstad (Psychology) and Ellen Glickman (Exercise Physiology).

MS-Cog Study.

The primary aim of this project is to examine the cognitive benefits of a water-aerobic based exercise intervention in individuals with multiple sclerosis. This project is in collaboration with Dr. Mary Beth Spitznagel (Psychology).

Recent Publications

View Dr. Ridgel's complete publication list.


Student Presentations

Bishnoi, A*, Mavundza, N*, White, B+, Fesemyer, K+, Phillips, R.S.*, Ridgel AL. Effects of vibration stimulation on muscle recruitment and balance performance.  EHHS Gallery of Research. May 2014.

Phillips, RS*, Ridgel, AL*. Individuals with Parkinson’s Disease Benefit From A Single Bout of Dynamic Cycling. American College of Sports Medicine Meeting- May 2014
Phillips, RS*, Wilson, KA*, Ridgel, AL. Bradykinesia and timed up and go are improved after dynamic cycling in Parkinson’s disease, 3rd World Parkinson Congress- October 2013

Peacock, CA*, Wilson, KA*, Sanders, GJ*, Corbett, DB*, Fickes EJ*, Glickman EL, Ridgel, AL. Parkinson’s disease patients tolerate multifaceted exercise intervention while improving health-related physical fitness.  American College of Sports Medicine Meeting- May 2013

Wilson, KA*, Phillips, RS*, Abdar, HM, Discenzo, FM., Loparo, KA, Ridgel, AL. Dynamic Cycling Promotes Upper Extremity Motor Improvements in Parkinson’s disease. American College of Sports Medicine Meeting- May 2013

*-  graduate student
+- undergraduate student


This laboratory is equipped a Motomed Viva 2 Parkinson movement trainer as well as several custom designed “Smartbikes”. Motor function assessment tools include a Noraxon Electromygram (EMG) system, the Kinesia Motor Assessment System (Cleveland Medical Devices) and a reaching table (designed by collaborators at Rockwell Automation). Mobility, gait and posture assessment equipment includes the Functional Assessment of Biomechanics System (wireless biomechanical system), a Biodex Balance System, Dartfish software, video cameras and a Biodex Unweighing System with safety harness. The lab also has a cognitive testing station which uses Webneuro software.  Additional equipment, shared with Athletic Training, include two SwissWings segmental mechanical vibration devices. 

fab support SmartBike

Potential Graduate Students

Dr. Ridgel is currently accepting MS and PhD level students in her lab.  Teaching and research graduate assistantships may be available to qualified individuals.  Email Dr. Ridgel for more information.