Performance Based Measures (PBM) CORE

Co-Directors: Roger Fielding, PhD; Tufts University’s  Nutrition, Exercise Physiology, and Sarcopenia (NEPS) Laboratory ; Jonathan Bean, MD, MPH; Spaulding Cambridge Outpatient Center, Department of PM&R, Harvard Medical School

Standardized performance tests provide an objective assessment of functional capacity and are important outcomes to assess rehabilitation interventions.  The Boston ROC PBM core directors have been leading researchers in the area of PBM for the last 10 years.

Importance of PBM as a Medical Rehabilitation Outcome

A wide array of clinical rehabilitation trials will benefit from the collective resources of this core. Increasingly, there is pressure from regulatory and funding agencies to assess more distal PBM outcomes in trials. Common uses include: treatments of muscle loss (sarcopenia) to assess subjective symptomatology (eg: fatigue, energy, difficulty in activities of daily living) and objective PBMs of physical functioning (eg: gait velocity, stair climbing).


To improve and expand the utilization of performance-based measures of physical functioning and motor impairments in medical rehabilitation clinical trials and related research.


  • Provide the infrastructure needed to make available standardized, valid, reliable and responsive measures of physical function and motor impairments across a wide range of clinical studies supported by or associated with Boston ROC.
  • Provide technical services and support.
  • Create an exciting research core where innovative projects centered on the development, validation and application of PBMs for children and adults is fostered, debated and advanced

Roger Fielding presentation

Dr. Roger Fielding presented at the Boston ROC HDR seminar for the PBM CORE recently. To view his presentation, click on the title page:



Measures used by the PBM core have standardized protocols and manuals developed. Some of the assessments that are most frequently used in studies are listed in the table below. Click on an assessment to learn more.


Assessment Use
1 RM Muscle Strength and Leg Power For seated knee extension, and leg extension are determined with the baseline 1 RM test repeated twice separated by one week74. Peak power is assessed for both knee extensors and leg extensors
Isokinetic Peak Torque  Isokinetic peak torque and isometric strength are be determined for the knee flexors and extensors using a Biodex isokinetic dynamometer (NEPS Lab-Tufts).
Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB) The SPPB captures domains of strength, endurance, and balance and is highly predictive of disability63. Briefly, the SPPB score is based on timed measures of standing balance, walking speed, and ability to rise from a chair.
Gait Velcoity The subject is instructed to walk at a normal walking pace for 10 m to assess habitual gait velocity.Measure are also taken for the Stair Climb, Sit to Stand Transitions, and Load Carry.
400 Meter Walk The 400M walk is the primary outcome measure for the LIFE study. This test is a measure of functional ability.