CVNR Press Releases - Find out what's new in the CVNR

Georgia Radio Reading Service (GaRRS) Interviews - Interviews with CVNR Researchers & VA Clinicians


NEW FUNDING Fall 2016:  Wolf awarded GVU/IPaT Research and Engagement Seed Grant

Congratulations to Steve Wolf, PhDDr. Wolf is one of twelve winners of the 2016-2017 GVU/IPaT Research & Engagement grant competition, which aims to support research initiatives committed to interdisciplinary research and innovation in the human experience of computing. Dr. Wolf's new grant, "New structure for sending glove," will develop a glove to be worn on the more impaired hand following stroke to record anti-haptic movements. 

NEW FUNDING Fall 2016:  Rodriguez receives VA SPiRE Award

Congratulations to Dr. Rodriguez on her new SPiRE project “Acute exercise effects on word learning in aging and stroke-induced aphasia.”  Difficulty retrieving words is the most common complaint in healthy aging and aphasia and has a negative impact on functioning and well-being. This SPiRE will investigate the immediate effects of exercise on word learning in healthy older adults and individuals with stroke-induced aphasia. The results will inform the development of targeted, exercise-based word retrieval treatments for our aging Veterans.

NEW FUNDING Fall 2016:  Sathian awarded VA SPiRE funding

Dr. Sathian has been awarded new SPiRE funding.  The new project is titled “Spatial Cognitive Training in Visual Impairment” and it is slotted to begin in the fall of 2016. Spatial cognitive abilities represent an important target for rehabilitation of individuals with vision loss. The study will examine the utility of adding telerehabilitative spatial cognitive training to orientation and mobility training that is the mainstay of low vision rehabilitation.  Congratulations Dr. Sathian!

NEW FUNDING Summer 2016:  Allen Receives VA Career Development Award

Dr. Rachael Allen has received funding for a Career Development Award “Neuroprotective Strategies for Retinopathy and Cognition in Diabetes.”  Dr. Allen will look to identify an earlier treatment window for diabetes — a disease that affects nearly 20% of Veterans in the VA system — to develop early clinical treatments prior to obvious signs and symptoms. 

NEW FUNDING Spring 2016 - Butler awarded ORH grant

On April 1, 2016, Dr. Andrew Butler, started a new Office of Rural Health project entitled “National Rural Stroke Telerobotic Rehabilitation Headquarters for the Enterprise Wide Expansion of Rural Stroke Telerobotic Rehabilitation Access.” The project aims to establish a Headquarters in Atlanta, GA to coordinate, train, and promote Telerobotic rehabilitation for stroke survivors living in our rural communities. In addition to current sites in Alabama and Georgia, other sites around the country will be added. The National Rural Stroke Robotic Tele-rehabilitation Initiative is expected to treat 150 rural Veterans in three years, saving an estimated 600,000 driving miles!

NEW FUNDING Spring 2016 - Nocera and McGregor awarded Innovation funding

Drs. Nocera and McGregor have recently been awarded an Office of Rural Health seed grant in collaboration with the VA Center for Innovation for their project, "Improving Mobility in Rural Veterans Using the Apple Watch." This multi-year project funds the development and deployment of a physical activity tracking and exercise regimen delivery application using technology procured from the VA Mobile group at VA Central Office in Washington, DC. The project seeks to improve physical fitness in rural Veterans by delivering customized exercise regimens that can be accurately and interactively tracked to assist Veterans in engaging in directed regular aerobic exercise sessions. The project is a highlight of how VA interdepartmental cooperation can improve Veteran health outcomes by leveraging key strengths of each group. The project has been selected to be part of the VA Center for Innovations' Accelerator program (one of 20 such projects identified nationally).

NEW FUNDING Spring 2016:  Maa receives VA Center of Innovation Spread Grant

Dr. April Maa is one of four recipients nationally of a VA Center of Innovation Spread Grant.  The grant is titled "Expansion of Technology-based Eye Care Services (TECS)."  TECS is a successful tele-ophthalmology program, which screens Veterans in their Community-Based Outpatient Clinic, near their homes, for common eye conditions such as cataract and glaucoma, dramatically improving their access and diagnosis of disease at an earlier stage.  This grant will spread TECS to the national level by instituting two new sites at other VA's in the country.  The grant will run through September 2016, with an opportunity for sustainment into 2017.  Congratulations Dr. Maa!

Madeleine Hackney receives 2015 Selma Jeanne Cohen Lecture Award

Congratulations to Dr. Madeleine Hackney, VA Research Scientist & Emory Assistant Professor of Medicine, who was recently awarded the 2015 Selma Jeanne Cohen Lecture Award by the Fulbright Association Board of Directors, and the Selma Jeanne Cohen Selection Committee (SJCSC). Her research focuses on the design and optimization of creative movement/dance-based therapies to improve mobility, cognition and quality of life in older individuals with movement disorders. The Selma Jeanne Cohen Fund for International Scholarship on Dance honors the pioneering and seminal contributions of preeminent dance historian Selma Jeanne Cohen.

CVNR Investigator receives perfect score

Dr. Erica Duncan has received a perfect score on her RR&D Small Projects in Rehabilitation Research (SPiRE) grant focusing on Aerobic Exercise for Cognition in Schizophrenia.  The study begain in February 2016 and will continue for the next two years.    

Congratulations and a job well done, Dr. Duncan!

Visual Rehabilitation Symposium a success!


The Atlanta VAMC Rehabilitation R&D Center for Visual and Neurocognitive Rehabilitation (CVNR) and the Emory Eye Center hosted a symposium in May 2015 that focused on advances in visual rehabilitation.

This is the second year the symposium was hosted by this collaboration, which also included a poster session. 

Speakers included: Cynthia Owsley, PhD, MSPH (UAB); Krish Sathian, MD, PhD (CVNR, Emory);

Kristina Visscher, PhD (UAB); April Maa, MD (CVNR, Emory);

MiYoung Kwon, PhD (UAB); Beau Bruce, MD, PhD (Emory)

Article accepted to Frontiers in Human Neuroscience - represents a paradigm shift in the field

Several CVNR investigators recently had article accepted to Frontiers in Human Neuroscience that has been praised as representing a paradigm shift in a field that hasn’t had a paradigm shift in years. In the research, investigators built a case, based largely on their VA research, that some treatments in stroke rehabilitation work not because they directly treat deficits due to stroke, but because they treat brain changes due to aging that make the deficits from stroke worse.

Article : "The relevance of aging-related changes in brain function to rehabilitation in aging-related disease"

Authors: Bruce Crosson, Keith M McGregor, Joe R Nocera, Jonathan H Drucker, Stella M Tran and Andrew J Butler

CVNR Co-Hosts Senior University for people with Parkinson's Disease

For the months of March through May, the VA CVNR, under the coordination of Dr. Madeleine Hackney, and the Emory Center for Health in Aging partnered to provide 24 lectures to individuals with Parkinson's Disease The series, partially funded by the National Parkinson Foundation, was titled, "Health Wellness and Resiliency," and information on a range of health topics was presented by CVNR investigators, Emory and GA Tech faculty, as well as Emory nursing and medical students.  After the lectures, the attendees participated in 'partnered learning,' where they discussed the information in partners and small groups.

Dr. Hackney's CDA-2 Featured in Atlanta VA Newsletter

Phase 2 of Dr. Hackney's adapted tango research project has been recently featured in the May 2015 version of the Atlanta VAMC Newsletter.

Atlanta VA Newsletter Excerpt (161.0 KB)

VA Research Day - May 18, 2015

On Monday May 18, 2015, the Atlanta VA Medical Center highlighted all its advancements in research during the annual Research Day Celebration. Research staff presented posters and new technology was demonstrated in the atrium. Guests were able to interact with a tele-presence robot that the CVNR is testing in home tele-health settings. Guests were also able to try on the fast-darkening lenses engineered by Mr. David Ross.  

VA Research Day in the Atlanta VAMC Newsletter (105.3 KB)


NEW FUNDING:  Hackney, Perkins & Dillard Receive 250K in PCORI Funding

Madeleine Hackney, PhD, VA Research Scientist & Emory Assistant Professor of Medicine, Molly Perkins, PhD, Emory Assistant Professor of Medicine, and Rebecca Dillard, MA, of the Emory Division of General Medicine and Geriatrics, were recently awarded 250K over two years for their proposal, Developing a Research Participation Enhancement and Advocacy Training Program for Diverse Seniors, through the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Eugene Washington Engagement Awards mechanism. The program is aimed at increasing participation of under-served older adults in clinical research.  Congratulations Dr. Hackney!

NEW FUNDING:  Pardue partners with Buffalo VA; receives 3 year grant looking at why veterans can lose their vision long after combat, and what can be done about the problem

Machelle Pardue, PhD , Atlanta VA Research Career Scientist & Emory Associate Professor, has teamed up with Steven J. Fliesler, PhD from the Buffalo VA to study how that vision loss occurs and how it might be prevented. Congratulations Dr. Pardue!

Read more about this new research grant from Months after IED blasts, vision may fade

CVNR Spends a Year with the Atlanta VA Tele-Health Monthly Support Group


The CVNR, in partnership with the Atlanta VA's nursing service, has assumed responsibility for the Atlanta VA Tele-Health Monthly Support Group education for the 2014 fiscal year. The support group includes Veterans with one or more chronic conditions currently enrolled in the VA's home tele-health program who are using technology to monitor and manage their health status. This monthly support group ranges in attendance from 32-65 Veterans.

Dr. Griffiths’ organized a “Research Social” to kick off the series which began with an introduction to our Center, and its mission. Several CVNR Investigators showcased their research to the group who then voted on which programs they wished to hear more about. All presentations were enthusiastically received and all presenters were invited back to speak in greater detail about their program of research.

Recently, the CVNR helped organize and put on a holiday party for the members, where David Ross gave a cheerful musical performance.

VA Secretary McDonald describes why the VA is critical to medicine and vets - October 23, 2014

Secretary McDonald describes the history, benefits, and achievements of the Department of Veterans Affairs in this article published in the Baltimore Sun. It is great to see that VA research is acknowledged as one of the three pillars that enable holistic health care. 

Baltimore Sun Article

Technology Horizons Featured in VA Research Currents - October 2014


David Ross'various research projects focusing on developing new technology to help Veterans with vision problems has been featured in the 2014 Fall Edition of VA Research Currents, Research News for the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

VA Research Currents 2014 Fall Edition

Mr. Ross has multiple way-finding projects at the CVNR and one in collaboration with the University of Maryland. Those projects are helping those with vision loss to find their way around easier and more effectively.

Congratulations - it's so exciting to have this new technology in the works.

More details about Mr. Ross' projects can be found in our CVNR Press Releases.

Atlanta Journal Constitution and VAngaurd Magazine feature CVNR Adapted Tango - September 2014

Congratulations Dr. Madeleine Hackney! Her research on Adapted Tango and classes are featured in the Sept 10 issue of the Atlanta Journal Constitution and the 2014 Fall Edition of VAngaurd Magazine. 

Link to AJC article: AJC Article

Link to VAnguard article: VAnguard

Want a preview of what Adapted Tango classes are like? Click the link to see.

CVNR Investigator offers Adapted Tango classes to improve balance and posture

Dr. Madeleine E. Hackney, Research Health Scientist of the Atlanta VA Center of Excellence for Visual & Neurocognitive Rehabilitation, has been sponsored by the Georgia Chapter of the American Parkinson Disease Association to offer FREE adapted tango classes.

"Adapted Tango" is a series of Argentine Tango dance lessons designed by Dr. Hackney to improve mobility in older adults with balance and mobility problems, such as Parkinson's Disease. All ability levels and ages are welcome. Individuals with balance challenges are encouraged to bring a caregiver or supportive friend.

Under the guidance of attentive instructor, Dr. Ronda Patino, dance students enjoy a head to toe warm-up, partnering improvement exercises, activities to promote rhythm and musicality, and the chance to learn several classic Argentine tango steps.  Ample time to practice is included in each session. This program has been tested in VA funded research studies and has demonstrated to improve mobility, balance, walking ability and quality of life in older adults with mobility issues.

Dr. Hackney states, "Adapted tango is meant to be fun and inclusive. Through this dance program, generations have come together and shared in a delightful musical art form while improving overall mobility and perhaps, health."

Partner's in Parkinson's Convention - September 13, 2014

The CVNR participated in the Michael J Fox Foundation's Partners in Parkinson's convention. Dr. Madeleine Hackney was an invited panelist during one of the convention's breakout sessions entitled Living Well with Parkinson’s.The event was a huge success and we were able to reach out to many individuals regarding our current research relating to Parkinson's Disease.

For more information on the Michael J Fox Foundation's Partners in Parkinson's visit their website.

CVNR Center Director talks about the 10% brain myth

Dr. Krish Sathian is interviewed about the upcoming movie, Lucy, out in theaters this summer. In this video entitled Lucy: Debunking the 10% Brain Myth, Dr. Sathian discusses the facts about how much of our brain is used and how the 10% myth originated.

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VA Research Day - May 22, 2014

On Thursday May 22, 2014, the Atlanta VA Medical Center highlighted all its advancements in research during the annual Research Day Celebration. This year's theme, VA Research: Making a Difference, really hit home with our Veterans and VA Staff.

Dr. Michael Hart, Associate Chief of Staff for Research at the Atlanta VA comments “The Research Program at the Atlanta VA is active and vibrant. It focuses on basic and applied research designed to better understand disorders that commonly afflict our Veterans. A major focus of our programs is the discovery of new therapies for those disorders.” He goes on to say, “As researchers, our main goal is to improve the quality of life of our Veterans, and we get closer to that goal every day.”

Research staff presented posters in the atrium and interacted with Atlanta VA patients and their families, VA staff, and other investigators to share the exciting progress being made within the Atlanta VA Research Service.

Community Focus: Druid Hills Civitan Club - May 20, 2014


On May 20th, and  provided an educational program for the Druid Hills Civitan Club.

The program, which focused on fall prevention, exercise, and motor ability, was very well received the the club members.

Although the focus on the talk was related to research in healthy aging, members were also excited to hear about all of the research programs at the Atlanta VA's CVNR.

Dr. McGregor was honored to receive the 2014 Outstanding Research in Aging Award from the Civitan Group of Atlanta.

Congratulations Dr. McGregor!

7th Annual Brain Health Forum - April 29, 2014

The CVNR made a strong impression at Emory's Brain Health Forum last month at the Carter Center. With hundreds of participants from the community and community organizations present, the CVNR got the word out about the Center and the many active studies being conducted.

Key Research Findings Featured in VA Research Currents, Spring 2014 Edition

Dr. Machelle Pardue's research on how exercise wards off retinal damage is being featured in the Spring Edition of VA Research Currents, Research News for the US Department of Veterans Affairs. VA Research Currents 2014 Spring Edition

New York Times publishes article featuring Jeffrey Boatright, PhD & Machelle Pardue, PhD: Exercising for Healthier Eyes

Congratulations to Dr. Pardue, Dr. Boatright, & their colleagues! Their research on benefits of exercise in reducing the effects of macular degeneration have been featured in the New York Times.  New York Times: Exercising for Healthier Eyes

Fox News Story - "Boosting Your Memory" featuring Ben Hampstead, PhD

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CVNR Brochure (518.2 KB)