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Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation project team awarded grant to use commercially-available gaming technology to deliver motor rehabilitation

The Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at OSUMC was recently awarded $653,014 from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to use commercially-available gaming technology to deliver motor rehabilitation. This project will enable a “gold standard” motor rehabilitation intervention, constraint-induced movement therapy (CI therapy), to be implemented in patient's homes at low cost. In doing so, a markedly underserved population of patients with chronic hemiparesis resulting from stroke will now have access to an intervention that was previously only available to a select few.

CI therapy is an empirically-developed therapeutic intervention that combines the most effective psychological and motor training practices to promote behavior change and neural plasticity concurrently; this intervention has been shown to substantially increase the amount of use of an affected upper extremity and to promote structural and functional brain plasticity. Despite being viewed as a gold standard intervention for arm hemiparesis, CI therapy remains inaccessible to most patients due to limited availability of treatment programs (requiring most patients to travel long distances, often out of state, several times a week, to seek this care), limited insurance reimbursement, and high cost (upwards of $6,000).

The objective of this project is to develop and pilot, in collaboration with the patients it is designed to serve, an engaging home-based rehabilitation that delivers this highly effective treatment at low cost. By utilizing inexpensive and widely available motion capture technology (the Microsoft Kinect), CI therapy can be conveniently and broadly disseminated for less than $500 in the comfort of a patient’s home. In addition, the motion capture technology required to deliver this home-based care will double as an in-home data acquisition system that will acquire the motion data needed to evaluate effectiveness of the intervention for each user. This rehabilitation gaming system will increase patient engagement while delivering the key elements of CI therapy: intensive motor training of the more-impaired arm on functional tasks, restraint of the less-impaired arm, and a number of behavioral techniques that facilitate carry-over of therapeutic gains to daily activities. We will also incorporate design features that are known to stimulate brain plasticity and improve rehabilitation outcomes within a highly motivating rehabilitation environment. It is our hope that this project will represent a critical advance in health-care access and affordability for a population in need, as well as a two-fold advance in intervention design that: 1) incorporates stakeholders in the design process and 2) redesigns a challenging rehabilitation paradigm into a patient-centered game.

This website has been funded with financial assistance from Grant #H133A120086 awarded by the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute on Disability Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) to the Ohio Valley Center for Brain Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation for the current funding period of 10/01/2012 - 09/30/2017.