Multiple sclerosis: rehabilitation between technology and sport. The Point at the 2023 RIMS Conference | AISM
“Thanks to RIMS: In these days of meetings, I have rediscovered the meaning, the flair, the beauty of our rehabilitation work.” It starts by sharing a message received from one of the last 267 subscribers RIMS Conference (Rehabilitation in Multiple Sclerosis) Our meeting with Dr Giampaolo BrichettoPresident of RIMS for a three-year term 2023-2025 and Medical Director of the AISM Liguria Rehabilitation Service.
Brichetto sums up the value of the RIMS Annual Conference with a message that applies to all of us: There are physiotherapists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, speech therapists, rehabilitation researchers, bioengineers, and technologists who deeply love the work they do and for it. People with multiple sclerosis. And if you sometimes feel overwhelmed, not only in those who deal with MS every day, but also in those who take care of it, meet in person between operators from all over the world—two arrived from the US, one from Russia—help everyone recover. Momentum where scientific knowledge, clinical experience and perspectives are exchanged.
«This year – concludes Prichetto – we have had two great champions in Congress: on the one hand emerging technologiesapplications and devices that are already validated and can be used in rehabilitation, on the other hand Virtual Reality That more and more in the coming years will facilitate the possibility of being effective in rehabilitation and transferring them from the clinic to everyday life.
Virtual reality and rehabilitation: why and how
“Virtual reality – explains Brischetto – is becoming more real. Situations identical to reality can be simulated. Let’s think work contexts: By a realistic proposal of the office in which the person works or is going to go, even at the level of rehabilitation, it will be possible to carry out a real training that enables the professional activity ».
Artificial intelligence and rehabilitation research
Another important segment of the 2023 conference relates to the impact of artificial intelligence, which is increasingly useful for rehabilitation research.
“As highlighted in a congressional report,” continues Brichetto, “one of the AI tools available today, CHAT GPT, when asked what emerging rehabilitation technologies are, in a few moments a large amount of information related to articles, scientific journals, publications, website content, and creating a list Technology tools that can be used or that are being researched. This speeds up search times, but information selected by AI must always be validated and accurate.
Don’t be afraid of technology: let’s learn from history
«In the 1930s – as Brichetto says – mathematicians took to the streets to ban the use of calculators in educational settings, because they believed that introducing them would be harmful and lead to the human being losing the ability to advance in the mathematical field. Then history denied this prediction: calculators became tools for daily use, people’s lives improved, and mathematical theories also continued to advance thanks to the computational power of machines. We can learn to be open to technologies, with reason but without prior closures: even technologies that seem to us to hide pitfalls, starting with human substitution, can also bring enormous growth advantages ».
What about a social robot that keeps you company?
Another interesting aspect of the RIMS conference poses a question for all of us: What happens when a person becomes old and has a progressive disability? She often finds herself having to spend a lot of time alone. He will be in dire need of not only home rehabilitation, but also good relationships with plenty of time. But often this person spends a lot of time alone, and the lack of daily relationships worsens independence.
“L”IIT, Italian Institute of Technology – says Brichetto – for years he has been working on the development of a “social robot”able to interact with humans. At the RIMS conference, we saw that thanks to the integration of artificial intelligence, this type of humanoid robot could in the future allow a person with an advanced disability to ask questions, exchange impressions, and receive answers very similar to those they would get from a real person.”
A robot will never be able to replace a person, that’s obvious. But in the field of rehabilitation, it can help to take charge of the person in a holistic way and to develop a kind of “protocol” that keeps the relational and emotional skills trained, slowing down the decline of these crucial levels in the lives of each of us. .
Ready-to-use applications and virtual exercises
Then there are some ready-to-use technologies, in particular program they exergames, which allows you to do exercises with a rehabilitative function through various types of video games. “We can remember – says Prishito – the DigiCog MS application, developed by FISM researcher Jessica Budda to treat Cognitive impairment in multiple sclerosis. Results of a verification study in which Jessica Budda herself won an award Best Oral Presentation Award granted annually by Congress.
How well is the correct physical activity
It has been proven over the years that physical activity has a neuroplastic and “therapeutic” effect even in multiple sclerosis. An ad hoc session of Congress presented the initiative MOXFO extension Also promoted by RIMS. “It brings together – explains Brischetto – a group of the most famous researchers in the world who deal with physical activity in multiple sclerosis. Researchers are developing real guidelines, the first in the field, that precisely regulate the management of physical activity in MS, with the goal of providing physical activity with an effective neuroplastic effect. Today, all people with MS are advised to start early or continue, if they were already doing so prior to diagnosis, to physical activity according to specific aerobic exercise and training protocols or even by adapting a sporting activity to the individual’s disability.”
Vocational rehabilitation: helps maintain a job
The RIMS-EMSP (European Multiple Sclerosis Platform) joint session was also interesting, which we talked about Vocational/occupational rehabilitation in multiple sclerosis. This sector of rehabilitation has been developing for some time in Northern Europe, particularly in Belgium and the Netherlands, and is one An important tool for job retention.
“Let’s think,” Brichetto explains, “of a person with multiple sclerosis working through a video terminal. If his or her disability increases, with vocational and vocational rehabilitation and company involvement, it is possible to analyze the person’s needs and prepare an intervention plan both with rehabilitation activities for motor or cognitive skills, and with modification of the environment/location/devices. There is still much to be done in this area. The European MS Platform will work at policy level to ensure that this type of rehabilitation is available in all countries and regions. We at RIMS will develop standardized guidelines that determine how to intervene based on available scientific and clinical evidence. By 2024, RIMS will introduce new rehabilitation guidelines in all areas of MS rehabilitation, with an emphasis on vocational/occupational rehabilitation.”
The last point concerns the perspective of people with MS. To what extent do they count today in determining rehabilitation research strategies and clinical practice? What contribution can they make? Brichetto declares that “RIMS will form a committee made up of people with multiple sclerosis Which can serve as an advisory body to the RIMS Executive Board in strategic decisions on priorities and initiatives to pursue. We will begin working in synergy between clinicians, researchers, and people to develop new recommendations for rehabilitation.”
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