Software Offers Hope for Arthritis Patients
UT Arlington researchers are working to provide relief for the nation’s 1.3 million rheumatoid arthritis sufferers.
Led by computer science and engineering Professor Fillia Makedon, an interdisciplinary team is creating individualized rehabilitation software systems to support physical therapy for those with the chronic inflammatory disorder.
The National Science Foundation-funded project will use remote monitoring to collect and analyze physiological and cognitive data while sufferers are engaged in a game-like activity that is part of their rehabilitation. The systems will examine arm and body motions, range of motion, gestures, facial expressions, and even brain activity to help researchers develop games that adapt to the individual.
“We want to assist physical therapists, not replace them, in determining more accurately and over time where patients are in their physical therapy,” says Dr. Makedon, a Jenkins Garrett Distinguished Professor. “We know that physical therapy leads to better lives for persons with rheumatoid arthritis, but we can’t always pinpoint where they are in their regimen. Our system ‘learns’ with time how to do that and personalizes the game software to ensure safety during physical therapy.”
The software also can be used to train rehab professionals and provide direct feedback to the patient. As a patient’s physical ability changes over the course of the ailment, the system adapts and informs the therapist. It also gives valuable information on the impact of medications prescribed.