Virtual reality avatar to help physiotherapy at home

Researchers from the University of Warwick showed that virtual reality (VR) combined with 3D Motion capture could allow movements to be translated onto an avatar that the patient can follow. They accomplished this using consumer VR technologies currently available. Research showed that these consumer virtual reality technologies could be used for both providing guidance to physiotherapy exercises, but also to make the exercises more interesting and encourage people to complete the course. This research published in the Journal PLOS ONE has focused on whether people can accurately follow the movements of a virtual avatar.

Currently prescribed physiotherapy often requires patients to complete regular exercises at home. Outside of the clinic, patients rarely receive any guidance other than a leaflet of sketches or static photographs to instruct them on how to complete their exercises. This leads to poor adherence, with patients becoming anxious about not getting the exercise right, or simply getting bored by the repetitiveness of the movements. Virtual reality could help physiotherapy patients complete their exercises at home successfully.

The advent of consumer virtual reality technology combined with 3D motion capture allows real movements to be accurately translated onto an avatar that can be viewed in a virtual environment. Researchers at the Institute of Digital Healthcare, WMG, University of Warwick are investigating whether this technology can be used to provide guidance to physiotherapy patients, by providing a virtual physiotherapist in the home to demonstrate the prescribed exercises. Researchers had to investigate whether people were able to accurately coordinate and follow the movements of an avatar in a virtual environment. They asked participants to step in time with an avatar viewed through a VR headset.

With increasing health care costs and also a shortage of healthcare professions there is a growing need for technologies that enable remote monitoring and treatment. It is also important that these technologies are effective and easy to use and this research study shows that.

Artificial Intelligence app to predict meningioma survival

Researchers recently published a study that shows proof of concept for how artificial intelligence can help doctors and brain tumor patients predicting survival and help make better treatment decisions. This study is published in Nature partner journal Digital Medicine. They also developed an open-source smartphone app meningioma.app to allow clinicians and other researchers to interactively explore the predictive algorithms described in the paper.

In this study, researchers from The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) and the Montreal Children’s Hospital of the McGill University Health Centre trained machine learning algorithms on data from more than 62,000 patients with a meningioma. Their goal was to find statistical associations between malignancy, survival, and a series of basic clinical variables including tumor size, tumor location, and surgical procedure. While the study demonstrated that the models could effectively predict outcomes in individual patients, the researchers emphasized the need for further refinements using larger sets that include brain imaging and molecular data.

More posts about medical apps at this link.