Posts Tagged autism

[WEB SITE] Assisto & VHAB will dramatically change how people with neuromuscular disabilities communicate

April 4, 2019

 

In our series #TechThursdays, we bring you news about Virtual Rehabilitation (VHAB) and Assisto devices. VHAB, which is based on virtual reality and Assisto, which is on artificial intelligence, are targeted at people with neuromuscular disabilities.

Tech giant Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) are looking to enable people with neuromuscular disabilities in a big way with VHAB (Virtual Rehabilitation) and Assisto. The two devices use the latest available technologies to enhance communication skills.

Assisto addresses the communication difficulties that many people with cerebral palsy face by tuning their voices for better clarity. This is achieved with Algorithm, a speech synthesis. So, when the user speaks, the listener will hear a clearer enunciation.

VHAB, on the other hand, us targeted at children with neuromuscular disabilities like cerebral palsy and autism. Many children diagnosed with disabilities are put through rigorous physiotherapy sessions which can be tiring. VHAB makes these sessions game-based with the help of virtual reality. Gesture analysis, finger-mapping and motion sensors will be used for this.

Both Assisto and VHAB have been successfully tested on children at the Adarsh School in Kochi.

Ashwin KumarPrincipal, Adarsh School believes taht the devices will revolutionize the way people with neuromuscular disabilities communicate.

People with cerebral palsy and autism may have issues with their tongue muscles that can affect communication. Assisto and VHAB devices are definitely going to help them. The software that was developed by TCS was tested on two of our children and it worked really well. In their next phase of the project, they are planning to introduce this to more children and reach out to people who need it.- Ashwin Kumar, Principal, Adarsh School

These devices will also make day-to-day tasks also easier for children with neuromuscular disabilities. The team fine-tuned the devices over three years.

“They provide a gameified app platform and a game environment is created for the user”, says Robin Tommy one of the members of the team that worked on developing them. “It is a combination of physical and game therapies and pain-free as well so kids would love it. The devices aim to enable movements for the user and motivate them to do daily activities with ease. It is mainly based on gesture and motion”.

Seema LalCo-founder of TogetherWeCan, a well known parents supports group in Kerala, believes that technologies like these will be game changers for people with disabilities.

‘We often talk about how technology can be a curse when it comes to things like game addiction and so on. At the same time, it can be a boon for children with neuromuscular disabilities. The United Nations is already talking about the benefits of assistive technology for people with disabilities, and in enabling them to participate actively in many things. I believe this new initiative from TCS is brilliant. Communication is the key for any person and technology is truly a boon”, says Lal.

This is a CSR project of TCS and the great news is that it plans to look at ways to introduce Assisto and VHAB in other schools as well as NGOs. VHAB was recently launched at the ZEP Rehabilitation Centre in Pune,

via Assisto & VHAB will dramatically change how people with neuromuscular disabilities communicate : Newz Hook – Changing Attitudes towards Disability

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[WEB SITE] European experts advise against epilepsy drug in pregnancy

PARIS, France (AFP) — An expert committee of Europe’s medicines watchdog recommended Friday that a drug used to treat epilepsy and linked to malformations in children not be used in pregnancy.

The compound, valproate, is also used for migraine and bipolar disorder, and doctors already advised against prescribing the medicine for pregnant women in France.

France’s medicines regulator, known by the acronym ANSM, asked the London-based European Medicines Agency (EMA) to conduct a risk review.

The EMA’s Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) said in a statement Friday it was recommending that valproate not be used by pregnant women for any of the three medical conditions.

For women suffering from epilepsy, however, it may be impossible for some to stop after becoming pregnant, it said. These may have to continue treatment, though with “appropriate specialist care”.

The experts also advised against prescribing the drug for women “from the time they become able to have children”, unless using contraception.

Valproate medicines are licenced under different names by national drugs authorities.

The committee recommendations will now go to another body of the EMA, which deals with concerns over drugs that are not centrally authorised in the EU.

Last April, a preliminary study showed that valproate caused “severe malformations” in as many as 4,100 children in France since the drug was first marketed in the country in 1967.

Women who took the drug during pregnancy to treat epilepsy were four times more likely to give birth to babies with congenital malformations, said a report of the French National Agency for the Safety of Medicines (ANSM) and the national health insurance administration.

Birth defects included spina bifida — a condition in which the spinal cord does not form properly and can protrude through the skin — as well as defects of the heart and genital organs.

The risk of autism and developmental problems was also found to be higher.

via European experts advise against epilepsy drug in pregnancy

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[ARTICLE] Disability, Neurological Diversity, and Inclusive Play: An Examination of the Social and Political Aspects of the Relationship between Disability and Games – Full Text PDF

This article explores existing connections between disability studies and game studies, and suggests how the two fields might greater inform each other. While existing research explores the use of games to reduce pain and achieve rehabilitative goals, new research on games from a disability studies perspective can also consider the persuasive messages that games advance about disability, and how these messages affect questions of identity, inclusion, and acceptance. By arranging the relationship between disability and games into four topics – therapeutic and educational tools, game simulations, accessible features and controls, and narrative inclusion and identification – this article explores, attempts to address, represent, and simulate autism in digital games. It focuses on Auti-Sim (2013), a simulation exercise, and To the Moon (2011), an adventure role-playing game. Drawing on the writings of autistic activists and existing scholarship on disability simulations, the author considers how these games may influence the player’s understanding of autism at social and political levels, and how these artifacts engage with the overarching goals of disability inclusion and autism acceptance.

Full Text PDF

 

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[WEB SITE] Apple ResearchKit’s New Clinical Trials: Autism, Epilepsy, Melanoma.

Apple launched ResearchKit, its iOS-based platform for clinical research, in March with an initial class of five trials focused on a range of health conditions. Nearly seven months later, the tech giant is welcoming three new trials focused on epilepsy, autism, and melanoma.

ResearchKit was designed to upend how medical research is done. Until now, researchers were mostly limited to who they could recruit based on geographic proximity. By moving a clinical trial onto a mobile device like the iPhone, it opens up a goldmine of data for researchers. Within days of the initial launch, the five studies had thousands of new participants with a diversity of location, background, age and health. That trend has continued, Apple said, helped by more efficient on-boarding via streamlined informed consent and the wealth of data collected by connected devices.

“Researchers have been able to get infinitely richer data sets than before,” said Bud Tribble, MD, PhD, vice president of software engineering at Apple. “Apple has helped accelerate medical research by creating a simple way for scientists to greatly expand the scope of their studies, and this is critical to helping researchers succeed.”

Apple doesn’t directly design the apps. That is all done by the academic and medical institutions running the studies. Instead, the company focuses on providing an open-source framework that’s specially designed for medical and health research. All of which takes advantage of the iPhone’s accelerometer, microphone, gyroscope and camera. One of the latest studies even builds in the Apple Watch.

Below are the three latest studies launching on ResearchKit and what they hope to achieve.

Continue —>  Apple ResearchKit’s New Clinical Trials: Autism, Epilepsy, Melanoma – Fortune

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