The Clinical Research Core (CRC), part of the Claude Pepper Older Americans Independence Center (OAIC) at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, provides the infrastructure and the investigator resources that are vital to the successful conduct of clinical research.

The CRC tests innovative hypotheses on the etiology of physical disability and evaluates novel interventions designed to prevent disability in older populations.

  • Assess potentially modifiable risk factors of physical function decline and disability in older adults.
  • Evaluate the effects of novel interventions on these risk factors and on body imaging, physical function and disability.

Core Services: 

  • Provide advice on the design and conduct of clinical research.
  • Perform uniform assessment on measures of physical function, strength and disability.
  • Assist investigators with integrating OAIC measures into their research involving older adults.

The core’s scientific focus is the active advancement of clinical research methods and the development and evaluation of interventions designed to measure whether specific interventions preserve the independence of older adults. Functional assessment designs encompass both community- and clinic-based settings.

Core Capabilities

The core provides a uniform assessment battery. The overall hypothesis is that including efficient measures of functional assessment will promote the translation of OAIC research through an improved understanding of function as both a risk factor and an outcome.

Currently Supported Core Assessments: 

  • Anthropometry: height, body mass, abdominal circumference
  • Grip strength: Jamar hand grip dynamometer
  • Leg strength and power: Biodex System 4 Pro isokinetic device
  • Lower extremity muscle power: Nottingham Power Rig: an assessment of leg press power
  • The Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB): three tests of physical function—standing balance, usual pace walking speed, time to rise from a chair and sit down five times
  • 400-meter walk test (400MWT): study specific protocols for either usual or fast pace gait speed
  • Pepper Assessment Tool for Disability (PAT-D): self-report instrument
  • Mobility Assessment Tool – short form (MAT-sf): 10- or 12-item computer-based self-report assessment of mobility using animated video clips
  • Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST): validated cognitive assessment that is strongly correlated with walking speed
  • Montreal Cognitive Assessment© (MoCA): global cognitive assessment that aids in interpreting DSST performance

The core also has the capacity to:

  • Assess gait speed and spatiotemporal parameters of gait using a GAITRite instrumented mat.
  • Test postural sway descriptors using an AMTI portable force platform.

The core also facilitates both a recruitment unit and the acquisition of muscle and adipose for.


The core also supports participant recruitment and provides guidance retention and follow-up. We maintain a database of people with interest in participating in clinical studies called VITAL (Volunteers In Touch with Aging and Life). This database represents a recruitment resource for current and future studies. If you would like to receive our VITAL newsletter, please sign up to join our mailing list.