Aasef G. Shaikh, MD, PhD


Aasef G. Shaikh, MD, PhD

Name of Institution:

Cleveland VA Medical Center, University Hospitals Cleveland, and Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio

Project Title:

The influence of basal ganglia, thalamus, and cerebellum network on discordant visual input induced gait disorder in Parkinson’s disease (PD)

Investigator Bio:

Dr. Shaikh is Assistant Professor of Neurology at Case Western Reserve University and Staff Neurologist at Cleveland VA Medical Center. He earned his MBBS from the Maharaja Sayajirao University in India and his PhD in Neurophysiology from Wayne State University. He completed Neurology Residency at Case Western.  His research focuses on the application of control systems engineering to complex disorders of the vestibular, oculomotor, gait and balance systems. The overarching goal is to discover novel network connections and to modulate those circuits to treat neurological conditions. Dr. Shaikh was the recipient of the prestigious American Academy of Neurology Alliance Founders Award, The American Neurological Association Grass Foundation Award in Neuroscience and The American Academy of Neurology Career Development Award.


The goal is to understand the physiological underpinnings of gait deficits in PD.


Poor balance and slowed reaction time are frequent causes of falls in people with PD. Neither existing medical therapy nor deep brain stimulation (DBS) consistently treats these issues, making falls a major concern as PD progresses.


Using a virtual reality set-up, we will examine whether conflicting visual and non-visual (e.g. vestibular and proprioceptive) sensory signals are responsible for the gait abnormalities in PD.  We will also investigate whether DBS improves abnormal walking patterns induced by visual-nonvisual conflict and if it does, which brain pathways are critical in mediating these effects.

Relevance to Diagnosis/Treatment of Parkinson’s disease:

We anticipate that the results will lead to the next generation of DBS technology through identification of the pathways that need to be stimulated in order to improve the abnormal walking pattern and balance function in PD.