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REHAB INSIDER • January 2017 Vol.1 No.1

the robotics and technology can act as a second set of hands so that the therapist can facilitate or help their patients in another way. to this equipment, Shriners also employs an upper-extremity functional electric stimulation (FES) cycle and an updated bilateral upper-extremity ergometer connected to a gaming system. Rachel Galant, MSNM, OTR/L, director of rehabilitation services at Shriners, says the facility will be receiving new technology for their department in the next two years. The exoskeleton is generally used for patients with SCI and cerebral palsy, but the FES cycle and gaming system is not diagnosis-specific. Getting this type of equipment in a rehabilitation facility may be expensive, but Galant claims that the benefits of having “the wave of the future” in treatment outweigh the costs. In addition to attracting patients, the robotics and technology can act as a second set of hands so that the therapist can facilitate or help their patients in another way. “I feel if you miss out on participating in this advancement, you might be left behind. I only see it being used more as a treatment tool and something that patients seek out,” she said. “Patients find programs with this kind of technology attractive. They feel like technology is the answer. I’m not going to say that it is, but it is quite a beneficial tool to have in the toolbox if you’re lucky enough to have the means at your facility.” Gaming and Apps While video games might be a part of treatment for some rehabilitation specialists, researchers are in the process of creating video games based on listening to and recognizing sounds, words, sentences and stories. Can these games improve cognitive skills in those who have suffered traumatic brain injury (TBI) and cognitive fog caused by chemotherapy, known as “chemo brain?” “This is another tool that rehabilitation neuropsychologists or therapists can use in order to improve a patient’s cognition, which will consequently improve their everyday lives,” said Gerald Voelbel, PhD, cognitive neuroscientist and director of the rehabilitation sciences program at the Steinhardt School at New York University. Participants went through 40 one-hour training sessions doing six different modules. Some of these included listening to specific sounds and recognizing whether they change pitch, traditional memory matching games using sound or listening to an entire story and picking up on details. As cognition improved, training became more difficult. Some participants who experienced chemo brain noted that they could feel improvements after four or five days. Similar results occurred with those who have prolonged impairment from TBI. 12 cover story JANUARY 2017  |  REHAB INSIDER


REHAB INSIDER • January 2017 Vol.1 No.1
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