Friday February 22, 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

0
//
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.

Also Read: Googling About Symptoms Can Predict Disease

“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

New Sleeping Pill Can Help Patients Wake up in Response to Threat

However, more studies on humans are needed to confirm DORA safety and efficacy, they noted

0
Pills (representational Image), Pixabay

Japanese scientists have shown that a new class of sleeping pill that preserves the ability to wake in response to a threat, unlike the commonly prescribed drugs that muffles a sleeping brain’s “intruder alert”.

Even during sleep the brain continuously processes sensory information, waking us if it detects a threat. But the most widely prescribed class of sleeping pills, known as benzodiazepines, makes us less likely to rouse in response to sensory input.

The findings showed that millions prescribed on these sleeping pills would sleep through a fire alarm as someone vacuuming next to their bed.

 However, the new class of drugs called dual orexin receptor antagonists (DORAs) more selectively targeted the brain’s sleep or wake pathways, which gives them safety advantages over benzodiazepines, said researchers from the Kagoshima University.

These include a reduced “hangover effect”, with DORAs less likely to affect driving ability the day after use.

“Benzodiazepines stimulate the widespread brain receptor GABA-A, which makes us sleepy but also suppresses off-target brain areas – including the ‘gatekeeper’ that decides which sensory inputs to process,” explained author Tomoyuki Kuwaki, Professor at the varsity.

Contraception, Men
New sleeping pill can help patients wake up in response to threat.

In the study, published in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience journal, mice that were given the new experimental hypnotic drug DORA-22 wake as quickly when threatened as drug-free sleepers — and then fall back asleep as quickly as ones given standard sleeping pills, once the threat is gone.

While DORA-22 allows mice to wake to a threat, it still helps them sleep.

Thus, the selectivity of DORAs could make them a safer alternative during sleep as well — by allowing the brain’s sensory gatekeeper to stay vigilant to threats, the researchers said.

Also Read- Here’s What Causes Cancer in Children

However, more studies on humans are needed to confirm DORA safety and efficacy, they noted.

“Although it remains to be seen whether DORAs have the same properties when used in humans, our study provides important and promising insight into the safety of these hypnotics,” Kuwaki said. (IANS)