[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 12-Nov-2012
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Contact: Alda Ólafsson
alda.olafsson@csic.es
34-915-681-499
Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

Leader experts in neurorehabilitation gather in Toledo, Spain

Researchers and experts from around the world in Clinical Rehabilitation, Applied Neurophysiology and Biomedical Engineering will meet from November 14th to 16th, at the First International Conference on NeuroRehabilitation – Converging Clinical and Engineering Research (ICNR2012). The conference, organized in Toledo (Spain) by researchers of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), aim to analyze the state of the therapies that are currently being conducted in this field and to promote a multidisciplinary global change.

Neuromotor & Neurosensory modeling and processing, Biomechanics, Neural Protheses, Neuro-Robotics, or Neuromodulation are some of the technologies to be analyzed during the lectures and workshops that comprise the conference program. All these systems have transformed throughout the last century the research and treatment of loss of motor and cognitive functions and have provided new opportunities for patients.

José Luis Pons, CSIC researcher at the Centre for Automation and Robotics and conference coordinator, claims: "Restoring motor and cognitive functions is a fascinating research field that has undergone major transformations. Now, we are able to interact with the nervous system through systems that can restore neuromotor abilities. It is a field in a crucial path between research and clinical reality, where therapists, clinicians and researcher have much to say".

The sessions have been organized under the HYPER Project, an initiative of the CONSOLIDER-INGENIO Program led by CSIC Bioengineering Group. The objective of this initiative is to develop "bio-inspired" systems to treat spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy in children, and strokes. It is these systems that replicate, in the most possible accurate way, the natural movements of the human body.

Pons, HYPER coordinator, states: "The project is based on the development of robotics, prosthetics and virtual reality, which, combined with traditional therapies, improve the rehabilitation of lower limbs functions such as walking or maintaining posture, as well as the upper limb functions". In addition, the project counts, among others, with the collaboration of the Hospital Nacional de Parapléjicos in Toledo and the Hospital of Fuenlabrada through the Instituto de Salud Carlos III.

Within the robotics field, which is already being implemented in some hospitals, progress is being made with mechanical exoskeletons, which allow paraplegics and people with mobility problems to perform daily activities. According to Ángel Gil, rehabilitation physician at the Hospital Nacional de Parapléjicos in Toledo: "The incorporation of these technologies represents a breakthrough and great hope for patients". The conference, which will include an exhibition of technologies in the sector,will also look at the impact of computer science, video games and virtual reality,two tools that, in addition to being useful to process data and get the information that provide, for example, movement sensors, are used to find out what the needs of the patients are and to get them motivated.

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