Got underway the clinical trial phase of the TELOS (Tailored neurorehabilitation thErapy via multi-domain data anaLytics and adaptive seriOus games for children with cerebral palSy) research project, a study in which several research organizations are involving aimed at evaluating the efficacy of an innovative rehabilitation therapy supported by virtual reality, compared to standard rehabilitation therapy in children with infantile cerebral palsy (hemiplegic and diplegic forms). In Azienda ospedaliero-universitaria pisana, the trial will be launched in the Departmental Section of Neurocognitive Rehabilitation of Developmental Age (directed by Professor Luca Bonfiglio, scientific director of the project for Azienda ospedaliero-universitaria pisana) of the Maternal and Pediatric Department (directed by Dr. Pietro Bottone). In Azienda USL Toscana nord ovest, however, the trial has started in the Rehabilitation Medicine Department (directed by Dr. Federico Posteraro) of the Versilia Hospital (scientific supervisor Dr. Sara Aliboni).
The rehabilitative exercises, geared toward promoting the improvement of manual skills and balance, will be carried out in videogame form (known as serious games) and performed in immersive virtual reality, with technologies developed by the Institute of Mechanical Intelligence of Sant'Anna School of Pisa, coordinator of the project. Virtual immersion will allow children to participate in a multisensory gaming experience, where visual and auditory stimuli felt at 360 degrees will be joined by tactile stimuli perceived through wearable actuators. In this way, it will also be possible to perceive tactile contact with the virtual objects target of the grasping and manipulation actions.
The virtual environment, the playful aspect, the variety of exercises, the progression by subsequent stages of upgrading managed by the therapist, are all highly engaging, motivating and rewarding elements and, as such, capable of promoting and supporting motor learning. The virtual environment, moreover, permits the objective measurement, through the survey of new kinematic indices and advanced data analysis technologies-developed in the project by the Institute of Clinical Physiology of the National Research Council (CNR-Ifc) of the performance of children in the required actions and, consequently, the accurate monitoring of their progress during the entire therapy. Finally, an element not to be underestimated, in light of the pandemic situation, is the prospect of proposing this type of rehabilitation setup also at the patient's home, in a scenario of monitoring, control and supervision even from remote (telemedicine).
The project is supported by Regione Toscana as part of the "Call for Health Research 2018" and involves Sant'Anna School (coordinator, engineer Daniele Leonardis, Human Robot Intercation group, coordinated by Professor Antonio Frisoli), CNR (scientific supervisor engineer Ilaria Bortone, Institute of Clinical Physiology), Azienda ospedaliero-universitaria pisana (Departmental Section of Neurocognitive Rehabilitation of Developmental Age), Azienda USL Toscana nord ovest (Rehabilitation Medicine Operational Unit, Versilia Hospital) and the Irccs De Bellis Institute of Castellana Grotte (scientific head, Dr. Rodolfo Sardone).
For any contacts for the trial, for Azienda ospedaliero-universitaria pisana, the contact email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org ; for Azienda USL Toscana nord ovest is: email@example.com.