Prudence Plummer, PhD, PT, conducts research in the Interdisciplinary Human Movement Research Lab, along with teaching in the DPT program and PhD programs. Her research focuses on cognitive-motor interference in people with neurological disorders.

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Prudence Plummer, PhD, PTPrudence Plummer, PhD, PT

Plummer focuses on two research studies. The first project is a study of sub-acute stroke that assesses patients’ mobility in the hospital before they go home. Her team is observing high-level functioning tasks, like stepping over obstacles and talking while walking, to see if those high-level mobility assessments will be strong predictors of who is likely to fall once they go home.

The second project observes people with multiple sclerosis who are receiving physical therapy in combination with taking a symptomatic medication, dalfampridine. The goal is to see whether or not getting physical therapy in addition to taking this medication improves walking outcomes. Plummer’s research has found that those getting physical therapy in addition to the medication experience substantially greater benefits from physical therapy than those getting physical therapy or the medication alone. Plummer’s team has presented this research to neurologists in hopes that they will prescribe this medication simultaneously with physical therapy to optimize the potential benefits for patients.

Plummer’s research also aims to enhance the therapeutic effectiveness of physical therapy for people living with multiple sclerosis. Her team conducted surveys, focus groups, and interviews with key stakeholders. The ultimate goal is to understand the measures of therapeutic benefit that will be most meaningful to patients. Additionally, her team wants to discover if the therapeutic benefits of physical therapy are equivalent for people with relapsing and progressive multiple sclerosis. Plummer is making great strides in her research studying cognitive-motor interference as a high-level mobility aspect of walking function in people with multiple sclerosis and stroke.