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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Science
December 4, 2016
Canadian Excellence

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Movement Disorders Research & Rehabilitation Centre (MDRC)

Laurier PhD candidate honoured at international congress for gait research

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Jun 29/12

Laurier PhD candidate Frederico Pierucinni-Faria’s research on the freezing of gait in some patients with Parkinson’s disease won second place at the Joint World Congress of the International Society for Posture & Gait Research and Gait & Mental Function in Trondheim, Norway.

Pierucinni-Faria joined Laurier’s Cognitive Neuroscience PhD program with a full scholarship from Brazil’s National Council for Scientific and Technological Development. He is working to figure out what causes patients with Parkinson’s disease to experience a sudden inability to walk, known as the “freezing of gait.” He discovered that patients experiencing this symptom walk with more stuttering and variability when required to  perform another task (for example, listening to numbers over a loudspeaker while stepping over obstacles).

“The awards committee commented that they were impressed with the novelty and applicability of a research experiment that helps understand why freezing might occur in our every day lives,” said Quincy Almeida, associate professor and director of Sun Life Financial Movement Disorders Research and Rehabilitation Centre (MDRC) at Laurier. “This award is representative of the world-class Parkinson's research being completed at the MDRC and the Department of Psychology.” 

Pierucinni-Faria’s presentation placed second of 367 research presentations, making him runner up for the Aftab Patla Research Innovation Award for Student Poster in Clinical Science. 

Pierucinni-Faria is the first student from south of the Equator to be recognized with this honour – an accomplishment that drew cheers of support from Brazilian and Canadian counterparts and an emotional response from Pierucinni-Faria.

“Frederico’s tears were all about his dream of obtaining a world-class education by leaving his home country to pursue his studies,” said Almeida. “And he got it…at Laurier.”

The World Congress of the International Society for Posture & Gait Research and Gait & Mental Function took place June 24-28, 2012. The congress, in its 20th year, had the theme of “Movement Analysis – From Bench to Bedside,” and included presentations to researchers and practitioners in the fields of posture, gait and mental function.


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