Wednesday November 20, 2019

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)

Next Story

This AI Tool Can Predict Mortality Of Heart Failure Patients

Researchers develop a tool that can predict mortality of heart failure patients

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This artificial intelligence (AI) tool can predict life expectancy in heart failure patients. Pixabay

Researchers have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) tool to predict life expectancy in heart failure patients.

The machine learning algorithm based on de-identified electronic health, records data of 5,822 hospitalised or ambulatory patients with heart failure at UC San Diego Health in the US.

“We wanted to develop a tool that predicted life expectancy in heart failure patients, there are apps where algorithms are finding out all kinds of things, like products you want to purchase,” said Avi Yagil, Professor at University of California.

“We needed a similar tool to make medical decisions. Predicting mortality is important in patients with heart failure. Current strategies for predicting risk, however, are only modestly successful and can be subjective,” Yagil added.

From this model, a risk score was derived that determined low and high risk of death by identifying eight readily available variables collected for the majority of patients with heart failure:Diastolic blood pressure, Creatinine, Blood urea nitrogen, White blood cell count, Platelets, Albumin and Red blood cell distribution.

Yagil said the newly developed model was able to accurately predict life expectancy 88 per cent of the time and performed substantially better than other popular published models.

“This tool gives us insight, for example, on the probability that a given patient will die from heart failure in the next three months or a year,” said researcher Eric Adler.

Heart failure patients
The mortality of a heart failure patient can be predicted. Pixabay

“This is incredibly valuable. It allows us to make informed decisions based on a proven methodology and not have to look into a crystal ball,” he added.

The tool was additionally tested using de-identified patient data from the University of California San Francisco and a data base derived from 11 European medical centers.

“It was successful in those cohorts as well,” said Yagil.

“Being able to repurpose our findings in independent populations is of utmost importance, thus validating our methodology and its results,” Yagil added.

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Researchers said the partnership between physicists and cardiologists was critical to developing a reliable tool and extensive knowledge and experiences from both sides proved synergetic.

The study was published in the European Journal of Heart Failure. (IANS)