TicSalut in European Projects
This project has already been completed. The targeted population was survivors of stroke from early stage after hospital discharge to chronic stages. The aim was to achieve optimal autonomous neuro-rehabilitation based on scientific evidence rather than on non scientifically grounded current rehabilitation approaches, that is, to boost functional reorganisation of the brain areas controlling (motor) function. From a clinical and behavioural standpoint, the aim was functional recovery rather than restoration of former movement properties (such as kinematics prior to the stroke).
The project targets acute, sub-acute and chronic phase, and aims at enabling an anticipated discharge from the hospital and a continued rehabilitation at home. This approach might prove workable for young and older patients, as it exploits both the fast adaptation of younger patients in the clinic and the slower adaptation of older patients through the at home rehabilitation who are known to be more dependent on the medical and social environment to be reassured and encouraged to practice. This later point is reinforced through the incorporation of social gaming.
The project has developed a virtual reality tool, the Rehabilitation Gaming System (RGS) that exploits
- mirror mechanisms to drive the brain cortical areas involved in motor control, first person perspective for delivering visual and/or haptic feedback to the patient,?bimanual tasks oriented toward action execution,
- goal-directed learning, and
- exploration of the motor space to discover residual motor solutions.
To achieve maximal efficacy of the recovery process, the partners conducted a series of clinical trials involving about 180 patients in the different phases of stroke and also comparing different interface technologies. (vision-based tracking, haptics and a passive exoskeleton). RGS has been shown to speed up recovery in the acute phase of stroke and resulting in sustained kinematic and functional gains in all phases of stroke matching the efficacy as standard occupational therapy.
The Rehabilitation system has proved to be usable by stroke survivors, motivating and efficient. Barriers concern the post clinically validated prototype phase:
The project was a success, but its deliverables and outcomes could not yet be fully exploited to improve stroke patients’ recovery, as it had not had time to demonstrate economical validity and (possibly) health cost savings (required to convince more clinicians within the timeframe of the project. Again, the continued work of the group focuses on the definition of the exploitation path and dissemination/integration in the clinics’ services, design of the assessment of the impact of the integration of the system in the public health system (in terms of costs savings, etc.), and definition of the business model appropriate for the public health system. The companies/SME's operating in the domain are often not tuned to the specific challenges of transferring the developed technologies to the market place.
Nr. Physicians involved in Catalonia: 10
Nr. Of patients in intervention group: 180
Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) (ES)
Hospital Universitari Vall d’Hebron (HUVH) (ES)
Hospitals de Mar i de l’Esperança, Parc de Salut Mar. (ES)
Heinrich Heine Universität (HHU) (DE)
Fundació TIC Salut (ES)
Guger Technologies OEG (AU)
Tyromotion GmbH (AU)