Richard F. Macko, MD, Professor Department of Neurology and Medicine, Division of Gerontology, is Associate Director of Research for the GRECC (Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Core) and Director of the VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Center of Excellence in Exercise and Robotics. He is Academic Director of the University of Maryland School of Medicine Rehabilitation Medicine Division, a standing member of the Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research Grants Panel (NICHD) and VA Rehabilitation Research Grant Panels. His research focuses on developing models of task-oriented exercise to improve motor function, cardiovascular fitness and metabolic health for individuals aging with the chronic disability of stroke. The interdisciplinary approach to this model included investigating mechanisms of exercise-mediated neuromuscular adaptations at the central nervous system and peripheral muscular/metabolic levels. CNS investigations characterize brain plasticity in locomotor control of older hemiparetic stroke patients participating in health promoting treadmill exercise rehabilitation programs that are now shown in randomized studies to improve ambulatory function even decades after stroke. The muscle & metabolic research examines effects of exercise on body composition and molecular mechanisms underlying inflammatory and metabolic abnormalities in hemiparetic muscle, which regulates insulin and glucose metabolism and may be modifiable to reduce recurrent stroke risk.
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