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Keynote Lectures

Designing Interventions to Support Ageing Well through Telerehabilitation
Eling D. de Bruin, ETH Zürich, Switzerland and Karolinska Institute, Sweden

Aging, eHealth, and COVID-19
Bo Xie, The University of Texas at Austin, United States

Technology and Aging: Supporting our Current and Future Selves
Alex Mihailidis, University of Toronto, Canada

Robotics to Characterize, Retrain, and Restore Human Movements
Sunil Agrawal, Columbia University, United States

 

Designing Interventions to Support Ageing Well through Telerehabilitation

Eling D. de Bruin
ETH Zürich, Switzerland and Karolinska Institute
Sweden
 

Brief Bio
Prof. Eling D. de Bruin obtained his PhD in Human Movement Sciences from VU University, Amsterdam and his postdoctoral training and habilitation took place at ETH Zurich in the Laboratory of Biomechanics in Zurich, Switzerland.
His research focus is on the intimately linked motor and cognitive aspects of human movement and age-related risk of falling. He strives to extend their findings ‘from bench to bedside’ using efficient combinations of basic and advanced technologies to capture the plasticity of central and peripheral motor control systems as well as of cognition in response to physical activity and training interventions.


Abstract
An increase of muscle strength and improved balance is achievable with traditional training and this, hence, positively influences some measures of gait. However, these exercise components often do not impact on spatial and temporal characteristics of gait that are associated with distinct brain networks. Because these gait characteristics are associated with distinct brain networks, it can be hypothesised that addressing neuronal loss in these networks may be an important strategy to prevent mobility disability in older adults.
A way to bring in a cognitive element into an exercise program is the use of virtual reality techniques. There are reports on the use and effects of virtual reality exergaming-training in various populations. Methods using immersive computer technologies resulted in improved motor functions of upper extremities and a cortical activation after virtual reality intervention in patients with chronic stroke. Older adults benefited from training in terms of improved functional abilities, postural control and simple auditory reaction times under dual task conditions.
This talk will focus on the relation between the use of Exergames and their influence on physical functioning of elderly. As people age, a self-reinforcing, downwards spiral of reduced interaction with challenging environments and reduced brain health significantly contribute to cognitive decline. Furthermore, brain activity needs to be able to adapt to challenges posed from the environment. Novel training paradigms; e.g. virtual reality interaction exergaming, indicate they might be able to effect on brain functioning in elderly. This talk specifically discusses [1] the theoretical relevance of novel Exergame training approaches and [2] presents research data suggesting that game-based brain exercise training with a focus on aspects of neuromuscular functioning in (frail) elderly are effective for ameliorating cognitive & physical gait function.



 

 

Aging, eHealth, and COVID-19

Bo Xie
The University of Texas at Austin
United States
 

Brief Bio
Bo Xie, Ph.D., is a Professor in the School of Nursing and School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Medicine from West China University of Medical Sciences in Chengdu, Master’s degree in Psychology from Peking University in Beijing, and Ph.D. in Science and Technology Studies from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. Consistent with her highly interdisciplinary training, Xie’s research has been situated at the intersection of aging, health, and information technology, examining older adults’ learning and use of new technology and the design of senior-friendly technology. Xie’s research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and Institute of Museum and Library Services. Her research to date has generated over 90 publications on these topics. Xie is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America. She can be reached at boxie@utexas.edu. Web: https://www.ischool.utexas.edu/~boxie/index.html.


Abstract
Older adults’ ability to access, assess, and use digital health information and services tend to lack behind those of younger populations. The COVID-19 pandemic intensifies challenges for older adults’ use of eHealth resources, calling for effective interventions to improve older adults’ wellbeing. Situated at the intersection of aging and eHealth, my research over the past 15+ years has focused on understanding older adults’ needs for health information and services and how eHealth tools can be designed and used to meet these needs. By improving older adults’ access to and use of eHealth technology, this research has implications for reducing digital inequalities and ensuring patient-centered care. In this talk, I provide an overview of my research, focusing on 3 lines of intertwining research. First, my Electronic Health Information for Lifelong Learners (eHiLL) research program that develops, implements, and evaluates interventions to improve older adults’ eHealth literacy. Second, my Health Information Wants (HIW) framework and related empirical studies, including recent adaptations of this framework to informal caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD). Third, my research on older adults’ experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic and technology-based interventions that may enhance their experiences during future crises. My talk also highlights productive collaborations with interdisciplinary researchers from, e.g., computer science, informatics, and health sciences, that have made this research intellectually exciting.



 

 

Technology and Aging: Supporting our Current and Future Selves

Alex Mihailidis
University of Toronto
Canada
 

Brief Bio
Professor Alex Mihailidis is the Associate Vice-President for International Partnerships at the University of Toronto, as well as the Scientific Director of the AGE-WELL Network of Centres of Excellence, which focuses on the development of new technologies and services for older adults. He is a Professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy (U of T) and in the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering (U of T), with a cross appointment in the Department of Computer Science (U of T). 
 
Professor Mihailidis has been conducting research in the field of technology and environments to support older adults or the past 17 years, having published over 200 journal papers, conference papers, and abstracts in this field. Dr. Mihailidis is also very active in the rehabilitation engineering profession, currently as the Immediate Past-President for RESNA (Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America). He was also named a Fellow of RESNA in 2014, which is one of the highest honours within this field of research and practice.
 
Professor Mihailidis received a B.A.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from University of Toronto in 1996, a M.A.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering in 1998 from the University of Toronto, and a PhD in Bioengineering (Rehabilitation Engineering) in 2002 from the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, Scotland).


Abstract
There has been significant research completed on the development of technologies to support the wellness of older adults. However, the majority of these devices have not made it to market and suffer from various limitations that make them inappropriate for an older adult to operate efficiently and effectively.  In order to ensure that future technologies for aging are useful, new ways of thinking in their designs is required. Disruption in the current technology landscape is needed that will force the way that we think about the design of these technology to change. This presentation will discuss the notion of disruptive technologies and how we are currently applying this concept is the design of our next generation of technologies for older adults. 



 

 

Robotics to Characterize, Retrain, and Restore Human Movements

Sunil Agrawal
Columbia University
United States
 

Brief Bio
Sunil K. Agrawal received a Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 1990. He is currently a Professor and Director of Robotics and Rehabilitation (ROAR) Laboratory at Columbia University, located both in engineering and medical campuses of Columbia University. Dr. Agrawal has published more than 500 journal and conference papers, three books, and 17 U.S. patents. He is a Fellow of the ASME and AIMBE. His honors include a NSF Presidential Faculty Fellowship from the White House in 1994, a Bessel Prize from Germany in 2003, and a Humboldt US Senior Scientist Award in 2007. He is a recipient of 2016 Machine Design Award from ASME for “seminal contributions to design of robotic exoskeletons for gait training of stroke patients” and 2016 Mechanisms and Robotics Award from the ASME for “cumulative contributions and being an international leading figure in mechanical design and robotics”. He is a recipient of several Best Paper awards in ASME and IEEE sponsored robotics conferences. He has successfully directed 30 PhD student theses and currently supervises the research of 10 PhD students at ROAR laboratory. He is the founding Editor-in-Chief of the journal “Wearable Technologies” from Cambridge University Press. He was the Conference Chair for IEEE BioRob2020 organized in New York City.

Website: https://roar.me.columbia.edu
Google Scholar Page: https://scholar.google.com/citations?hl=en&user=zavGyr4AAAAJ&view_op=list_works&sortby=pubdate



Abstract
Old age and neural disorders limit the ability of humans to perform activities of daily living. Robotics can be used to probe and characterize human neuromuscular and cognitive responses and create new pathways to relearn or restore functional movements. Columbia University Robotics and Rehabilitation (ROAR) Laboratory works on design of innovative robots and clinical studies targeted at improving everyday human tasks such as standing, reaching, head turning, walking, stairclimbing, and others. Human experiments have targeted elderly subjects and individuals with stroke, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, and Vestibular disorders. The talk will provide an overview of some of these technologies and scientific studies performed with them.



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