Wednesday February 19, 2020

Human Touch Can Rehabilitate Patients

The researchers are particularly interested in how their findings could help people performing exercises for rehabilitation, for example when recovering from stroke

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Human Touch Can Rehabilitate Patients
Human Touch Can Rehabilitate Patients. Pixabay

It does take two to tango when it comes to performing a physical task better.

According to a new study, human touch is the key and people improve their performance more when they practise with a partner rather than on their own.

Scientists from Imperial College London and two Japanese institutions explored whether physical interaction improved the way people performed in a computer-based task where they were using a joystick-like device.

They were connected by a virtual elastic band to the same type of device operated by another person, who was hidden from view.

Most of the participants were unaware that they were working with a partner, but in spite of this they subconsciously used information transmitted through their partner’s touch to enhance their performance.

“Participants achieved noticeably better results in the task when working with a partner than they did working on their own,” said Etienne Burdet from the department of bioengineering at Imperial College London.

Improvements were most noticeable when the individual was practising with another human and not a robot.
Improvements were most noticeable when the individual was practising with another human and not a robot.

The researchers are particularly interested in how their findings could help people performing exercises for rehabilitation, for example when recovering from stroke.

“Our study says touch plays a vital and very subtle role in helping people to transmit information to one another,” added Burdet.

The researchers discovered that where one person was physically connected to a partner when learning a task, they consistently improved their performance regardless of how well their partner performed.

Improvements were most noticeable when the individual was practising with another human and not a robot.

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“It’s fascinating that this kind of communication can be so powerful even when people cannot see each other. Getting robotic devices to mimic this process could help people make bigger improvements when they are carrying out exercises in rehabilitation,” stressed Atsushi Takagi, co-author of the study from Imperial College London.

Robots are increasingly used for rehabilitation and physiotherapy and the researchers believe that these robots would be more effective if they could react to patients through touch in the same way that people do. (IANS)

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Here’s how Spirituality Can Improve the Lives of HIV Patients

Spirituality may improve quality of life in HIV patient

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HIV spirituality
Researchers have found that HIV patients who pray or meditate regularly have a better quality of life. Pixabay

Adults living with HIV were more likely to feel higher levels of emotional and physical well-being if they attended religious services regularly, prayed daily and self-identified as religious or spiritual, according to a new study.

By contrast, patients living with HIV who had the lowest levels of quality of life and more mental health challenges were privately religious, the research added.

“These findings are significant because they point to the untapped potential of encouraging patients living with HIV who are already religious to attend religious services regularly. People who identify as spiritual also benefit from improved overall health-related quality of life,” said study researcher Maureen E. Lyon from Children’s National Hospital in the US.

Scientific evidence suggests that religions that present God as all-powerful, personal, responsive, loving, just and forgiving make a difference in health-related quality of life.

HIV spirituality
Patients living with HIV who had the lowest levels of quality of life and more mental health challenges were privately religious. Pixabay

“In general, patients living with HIV have reported that they wished their health care providers acknowledged their religious beliefs and spiritual struggles,” Lyon added.

For the findings, published in the journal Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, the research team wanted to learn more about the degree of religiousness and spirituality reported by people living with HIV and the interplay between religion and health-related quality of life.

They recruited patients to participate in a clinical trial about family-centered advance care planning and enrolled 223 patient/family dyads in this study. 56 per cent of patients were male. 86 per cent were African American, and their mean age was 50.8. 75 per cent were Christian.

The researchers identified three distinct classes of religious beliefs: Class 1, the highest level of religiousness or spirituality, applied to people more likely to attend religious services in person each week, to pray daily, to “feel God’s presence” and to self-identify as religious and spiritual.

According to the study, 35 per cent of the participants were Class 1 and tended to be older than 40. Class 2 applied to privately religious people who engaged in religious activities at home, like praying, and did not attend services regularly. 47 per cent of study participants were Class 2.

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Class 3 participants self-identified as spiritual but were not involved in organised religion. Nearly 18 per cent of study participants were Class 3, the lowest overall level of spirituality. According to the researchers, Class 1 spirituality was associated with increased quality of life, mental health and improved health status. (IANS)