Areas of Research - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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Areas of Research

Center for Advanced Research

RIC's Center for Aphasia Research and Treatment was created in 2001 to respond to the challenge of “living with aphasia.” Its mission is to promote the development and implementation of rehabilitation practices that enhance the communication skills of individuals with aphasia and facilitate their engagement in life activities. 

The RIC's Center for Pain Studies has emerged as a “stand-alone” research center with the cooperation of the RIC Chronic Pain Care Center. The RIC Center for Pain Studies uses the latest tools in chronic pain research to examine quantitative and qualitative aspects of the human pain response.

RRTC-Stroke - for more information about these projects and other RRTC activities, we invite you to visit the Research and Training sections located in the RRTC section of this Web site. If you would like more information about specific projects, contact information is provided for each project.

MRSCICS - sponsored by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), provides assistance through federal funding to establish innovative projects for the delivery, demonstration and evaluation of comprehensive medical, vocational and other rehabilitation services to meet the needs of individuals with spinal cord injury.

Basic Science Laboratory Research

Basic science laboratory research explores the physiological and biochemical causes of impairment. Studying the brain, neuroscience, neural engineering are among the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago's (RIC) new thrusts of growth and hope for prevention, treatment and cure of disabling conditions.

Biomedical Engineering Research

Biomedical engineering research has earned the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) a worldwide reputation in the development of artificial limbs (prosthetics), the study of motor control of the human body, biomechanics, computer modeling, and robotics. Achievements over the last 20 years in biomedical engineering range from the first sip-and-puff wheelchair control system, enabling quadriplegics to operate motorized wheelchairs independently, to building more advanced artificial limbs.

Sensory Motor Performance Program (SMPP) at RIC is one of the largest programs devoted to biomedical engineering – and more specifically, the study of musculoskeletal, neuromuscular and sensory disorders that are associated with abnormal control of posture and movement. SMPP’s work has gained international renown in the fields of biomechanics, neurophysiology, and rehabilitation research. Faculty members who are a part of this prestigious program have appointments at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine or the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Clinical Research

Clinical research focuses on the principal types of impairments treated at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC), including stroke, spinal cord injury, limb loss, arthritis, brain injury, cerebral palsy, and musculoskeletal disorders. Breakthroughs in clinical research have included the prevention of complications associated with blood clots following stroke and spinal cord injury, the improved management of spasticity and impaired gait in cerebral palsy and advanced treatment methods for amputees.

The Center for Pain Studies is one example of the significant clinical research sponsored by RIC. The Center's research is focused on identifying innovative clinical methods which can help minimize and manage pain.

Another example of the RIC's clinical research focus is the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center, which evaluates environmental factors that govern the success of rehabilitation -- and develops methods to enhance the quality of life of stroke survivors.

The Center for Aphasia Research and Treatment also has a clinical focus, and promotes the development and implementation of rehabilitation practices that enhance the communication skills of individuals who are living with aphasia and facilitate their engagement in life activities.

Outcomes Research

Outcomes research seeks to understand the end results of health care practices and interventions. In particular, for individuals with disabilities, end results include changes in the ability to function as well as quality of life issues.   RIC’s Center for Rehabilitation Outcomes Research is a leader in outcome studies related to measuring the impact of medical rehabilitation over the long term in patients with disabilities.  By linking the care people get to the outcomes they experience, outcomes research has become the key to developing better ways to monitor and improve the quality of care. 

Center for Bionic Medicine   

Assists in improving function and quality of life for people who have suffered limb loss. Currently, individuals who have undergone amputation are only able to operate one motion at a time with myoelectric prostheses. RIC's Center for Bionic Medicine is currently experimenting with the use of "targeted reinnervation" to improve myoelectric prosthesis function.

Learn more information about becoming a participant in a clinical trial/research study.