University of Calgary

Making great strides

UToday HomeJuly 5, 2012

By Ingrid Schmidt

Kailie Luan  sets the Gait Reminder  on a control group participant from a senior’s dance class. Photo by Ingrid Schmidt.Kailie Luan sets the Gait Reminder on a control group participant from a senior’s dance class. Photo by Ingrid SchmidtKailie Luan has just completed her very first year as an undergraduate student in the Faculty of Medicine, yet she is spending her summer working on a Markin Undergraduate Student Research Program (USRP) project in Health & Wellness.

This young researcher’s career goal is to bridge natural healing methods (traditional Chinese, holistic or herbal) with contemporary medicine. Working with Dr. Bin Hu (Faculty of Medicine), Kailie is developing a multilingual music program that uses both music and exercise therapy to treat Parkinson’s Disease (PD) symptoms.

Dr. Hu and his team developed the Gait Reminder iPod application that PD patients in his study group are using to assist their stride length during walking exercises. Luan’s project involves expanding the use of the Gait Reminder for use on the treadmill, PD rehabilitation dance classes, and bikes.

Luan has also translated the Gait Reminder manual and questionnaires into Chinese to break down language and cultural barriers.

Previous studies have shown music can transform mood and motivate movement in PD patients and re-train their motor capabilities, thus having a significant effect on their quality of life.

Luan will be presenting her research at the annual Markin USRP Fall Student Research Symposium on Thursday, Oct. 4, alongside the other USRP undergraduate researchers.

She is one of this summer’s 30 recipients of a Markin USRP studentship, where undergraduate students work on a full research project with University of Calgary researchers. This program affords students two opportunities every year to work on research from inception to presentation; 15 studentships for the Fall/Winter session and 30 studentships for the Summer session.

The application deadline for the Fall 2012/Winter 2013 studentships is Sept. 14. Please go to the Markin USRP website for more information.