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article imageNew app offers personalized therapies for stroke patients

By Tim Sandle     Apr 12, 2017 in Health
Toronto - A new app has been developed and it offers a series of personalized therapies for stroke patients to gain back use of their arms.
The app is described as the first-of-its-kind and it is called ViaTherapy. The app has been designed to aid clinicians in making decisions about the optimal rehabilitation strategies for patients who have an arm impairment following a stroke. For many stroke survivors, rehabilitation is a a crucial step and it represents the means to return to a quality life. The ViaTherapy app was developed through a collaboration with the Toronto Rehab centre, which facilitated access to an international team of stroke researchers.
A stroke is when poor blood flow to the brain results in cell death. There are two main types of stroke: ischemic, due to lack of blood flow, and hemorrhagic, due to bleeding. A common effect is with the lack of mobility and arms are often affected. With this, the person with suspected stroke may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of weakness or numbness in one arm.
To help medics deal with such issues the app was developed. The app is the work of Dr. Mark Bayley, Medical Director, Brain and Spinal Cord Rehab Program, Toronto Rehab and Dr. Steven Wolf of Emory University.
Test have shown that by using ViaTherapy, medics can tailor rehabilitation exercises and treatments to the individual patient (something seen as more successful than a one-size-fits-all approach to stroke therapy). The program also varies according to where a patient is in terms of stroke recovery (internal algorithm considers information inputted by the clinician). Dr. Bayley told Digital Journal: "The right treatment for a patient today may not be the right treatment for them in three weeks." He added: "In a sports setting, a good coach will always progress training as the player gets better. We tried to capture how a clinician should also evolve therapy to involve new treatments depending on how far along the patient is in their recovery."
The video below provides more information about the app and its functionality:
The app auto-updates when connected to the Internet, meaning that clinicians can access the most up-to-date, evidence-based therapies. There is also a degree of machine learning, meaning that the app 'learns' according to the patients’ specific needs.
The app is available for free via Apple’s App Store and Google Play for Android devices.
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