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TUES 24 OCT // 1:30 PM – 5:30 PM

Primary Content Focus: Neurodegenerative Disease (e.g. MS, Parkinson’s disease)

Secondary Content Focus: Geriatric Rehabilitation

This instructional course will present evidence supporting the use of imagery (e.g., motor imagery practice and dynamic neuro-cognitive imagery; DNI) interventions to improve motor and non-motor function in people with Parkinson’s disease (PD). Presenters will provide suggestions for successful translation of evidence-based principles into clinical practice for effective use of imagery interventions for this population. Finally, self-experimental lab session will introduce attendees to various DNI techniques to improve pelvic mobility during gait and activities of daily life.


  1. Describe the evidence and rationale for use of imagery training as a rehabilitative approach for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD)
  2. Describe the unique characteristics, advantages, and usages of imagery in the rehabilitation of PD
  3. Define the parameters that can be modified to facilitate the greatest response during imagery training in PD
  4. Demonstrate three DNI exercises that can be applied in the rehabilitation of people with PD for improving pelvic mobility in gait


Amit Abraham, PhD, MAPhty, BPT
Emory University School of Medicine

Madeleine E. Hackney, PhD
Emory University School of Medicine


Dr. Amit Abraham is a musculoskeletal physical therapist with a Bachelor Degree in PT from Tel-Aviv University, a Masters Degree from the University of Queensland, and a PhD in from Haifa University. Dr. Abraham specializes in dance injuries and rehabilitation and is the former resident physical therapist for Israel’s “Bat-Sheva” Dance Company. Dr. Abraham is a research fellow at Emory University. His post-doctoral training under the mentoring of Dr. Madeleine H. Hackney focuses on the effect of Dynamic Neuro-Cognitive Imagery (DNI) on motor and non motor functions in dancers and people with Parkinson’s Disease.


Dr. Madeleine E. Hackney, PhD, holds a BFA in Dance from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, and a PhD in Movement Science from Washington University in St. Louis. She has been an American Council on Exercise (ACE) certified personal trainer since 2000. She is a Research Health Scientist at the Atlanta VA Center for Visual and Neurocognitive Rehabilitation and Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of General Medicine and Geriatrics, Department of Medicine, Emory School of Medicine. Dr. Hackney’s work has characterized the effects of gender, attention, disease and unfamiliar skills on locomotion by examining backward and dual task gait. She has designed and analyzed challenging exercise programs, such as traditional exercise, Tai Chi, partnered dance & tango classes for people with Parkinson Disease (PD), older adults with visual and/or sensorimotor impairment, and serious mental illness. Dr. Hackney’s research has been funded by the VA, the National Science Foundation, the National Parkinson’s Foundation, the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute and the National Institutes of Health. Currently, Dr. Hackney is keenly interested in identifying movement programming, pedagogical methods of movement instruction, and related aspects (i.e., music accompaniment, assisting devices and tools, environment) that will optimize group physical activities for older populations. Dr. Hackney is using functional magnetic resonance imaging techniques for her VA project to identify changes in neural pathways which have been affected by effective internally or externally guided training. Her research has received media coverage in the New York Times, Scientific American, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, National Public Radio and in Musicophilia, by Oliver Sachs. She is the recipient of the 2015 Selma Jeanne Cohen Award from the Fulbright Association and was a finalist for the Atlanta Magazine 2016 Groundbreaker of the Year.


ACRM Annual ConferenceProgress in Rehabilitation Research (PIRR#2017)

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