The primary research interest of Jay A. Van Gerpen, M.D., is improving the gait of people with parkinsonism.
Toward that end, Dr. Van Gerpen has developed the Mobilaser, a device that provides a laser-generated visual cue to enhance the mobility of parkinsonian patients who have notable stride reduction or freezing of gait. Dr. Van Gerpen is involved in a study to validate the utility of this technology, and a pilot study he's completed has yielded encouraging results.
Dr. Van Gerpen works in collaboration with colleagues at Mayo Clinic in Florida who are investigating the genetics of patients with Parkinson's disease and other movement disorders. His role as a clinician is to recognize such patients and provide relevant biological samples to collaborators in genetics, neuropathology, basic neuroscience and other related areas.
He is also investigating expanding the scope of neurophysiological investigations of patients with movement disorders to aid in more accurate diagnosis.
- Gait disorders
Significance to patient care
Recent research indicates that a sedentary lifestyle is a major risk factor for dementia, osteoporosis and pathological fractures from falls, cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, and depression. Dr. Van Gerpen's primary goal is to facilitate the mobility of advanced parkinsonian patients so that they are not completely wheelchair bound.
A more comprehensive understanding of the genetic risk factors for parkinsonism and similar neurodegenerative disorders will likely enhance our ability to develop neuroprotective therapy, while hopefully enabling the eventual prevention of neurodegenerative disorders.
Expanding the role of neurophysiology in the assessment of neurodegenerative disorders will hopefully facilitate defining and classifying movement disorders more precisely, as has been the case in neuromuscular disorders and epilepsy.
- Regular Reviewer, Neurology and Parkinsonism & Related Disorders
- Best Doctors in America, 2005-2011
- Oral Examiner, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, 1999-2001