Dr. Brian Clark is an internationally prominent scientist whose research examines the effects of exercise, drugs and nonsurgical medical interventions on the human body. The overarching goal of his work is finding ways to remedy the weakness and restriction of movement that come with aging and physical disability – an issue of obvious relevance to health care costs and quality of life given America’s aging demographic.
The Ohio Musculoskeletal and Neurological Institute, which Clark directs, pursues this goal through basic and clinical research related to musculoskeletal and neurological health, with its two main areas of focus being pain disorders and healthy aging.
Regarding the first area, Clark says that by studying what happens in the central nervous system and the muscles as we age, researchers have found that while some weakness comes from loss of muscle mass, some can be ascribed to changes in how well the brain signals the muscles to do work or in how well the muscles act on that signal.
Clark’s many research projects look at topics including the mechanisms and effectiveness of spinal manipulative therapies for low back pain; the neural mechanisms of muscle weakness associated with aging; and the safety and effectiveness of new compounds for enhancing muscle function in the elderly. Because these and other research projects conducted at OMNI hold out great promise of having a real impact on a common public health problem, they have attracted robust grant funding from sources including the National Institutes of Health and industry sponsors.
Clark has published over 100 journal articles and chapters in outlets such as the Journal of Neurophysiology, Journal of Applied Physiology, Neurobiology of Aging, Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, and Experimental Gerontology, and his work and expertise has been featured in a number of major media outlets. He is author of a chapter in Hazzard’s Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, Seventh Edition, described by publisher McGraw Hill as “the gold-standard text on the diagnosis and treatment of disorders affecting the elderly.” Clark has served as a grant reviewer for numerous NIH study section panels and is a standing member on the Motor Function and Speech Rehabilitation study section.
Clark’s media placements include:
- Los Angeles Times
- New York Times
- Scientific American
- Outside Magazine
- The Atlantic
- Consumer Reports