March 17, 2021 —
Stroke survivors in rural Manitoba will put on digital actuality (VR) headsets for yoga periods and memory-training workout routines in an progressive UM pilot examine.
Dr. Amine Choukou has been awarded the Gerry McDole Professorship in Improved Healthcare Delivery to Rural, Remote and Underserved Populations of Manitoba.
The professorship, funded by AstraZeneca Canada, will allow Choukou to develop and take a look at a VR-based rehabilitation program to assist stroke survivors rebuild their bodily and cognitive skills.
“An individual in a rural or distant neighborhood who’s recovering after a stroke sometimes has to journey for rehabilitation appointments,” mentioned Choukou, assistant professor of occupational remedy on the College of Rehabilitation Sciences within the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences.
“We imagine that rural stroke survivors will profit from guided rehabilitation periods in a virtual-reality surroundings. They can do that in their very own houses, with a VR headset and laptop computer laptop that we’ll provide. Community volunteers will assist the stroke survivors with the expertise at every session. The yoga actions can be in a sitting or standing place.”
The Gerry McDole Professorship, valued at $50,000 per 12 months, is offered to a brand new college member within the Rady Faculty for analysis in well being service supply or well being coverage improvement and supplied for a three-year time period.
It is supported via a beneficiant endowment created by AstraZeneca Canada Inc. in honour of Gerry McDole [B.Sc./60] on his retirement as president of the corporate in 2003. The professorship continues to pay tribute to McDole, a former Manitoban who understood the distinctive challenges of delivering well being care to rural and distant populations.
“I’m happy to congratulate Dr. Choukou,” mentioned Dr. Neil Maresky, vp – scientific affairs of AstraZeneca Canada. “The highway of restoration and rehabilitation following a stroke may be extremely difficult for sufferers, notably those that don’t have prepared entry to help providers. Dr. Choukou’s analysis into VR-based rehabilitation has nice potential to help stroke sufferers and a health-care system that’s stretched.”
Dr. Reg Urbanowski, dean of the College of Rehabilitation Sciences, additionally congratulated the professor. “This well-deserved honour acknowledges Dr. Choukou’s modern use of expertise to assist folks keep their independence in their very own houses and cut back the burden on household caregivers,” Urbanowski mentioned.
Choukou’s general analysis focus is on digital applied sciences to assist folks with cognitive challenges or rehabilitation wants join with off-site caregivers. These applied sciences vary from robots which might be remotely managed by caregivers to sensors constructed into an condo to detect when a resident wants assist.
The professor says different researchers have examined VR video games for stroke restoration, however he believes his is the primary examine to discover post-stroke VR yoga coaching. In a lab at UM, Choukou’s group will create the 3D digital surroundings that individuals will expertise.
The 12-week pilot examine, anticipated to start out within the fall of 2021, is a randomized managed trial. Choukou’s group will recruit 60 individuals who’re discharged to their houses after having a stroke. Twenty of these can be rural or First Nation residents who will make up the VR group. The remaining 40 individuals can be assigned to a management group and a comparability group in Winnipeg.
March of Dimes Canada, a not-for-profit group that gives providers to stroke survivors and caregivers via its After Stroke program, will assist facilitate the examine.
Three occasions per week, individuals within the rural/distant group can be guided via a one-hour session consisting of 20 minutes of VR-based yoga for higher limb restoration, 20 minutes of yoga led by way of Skype for the decrease limbs and steadiness, and 20 minutes of VR-based reminiscence coaching.
“We anticipate to see enchancment in individuals’ arm and hand perform, steadiness and mobility, and cognitive efficiency,” Choukou mentioned. “We additionally predict diminished frailty and fewer falls.”