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Stroke Rehabilitation Therapy Via Gameplay

EDNA Digital Rehabilitation Software
Photo Credit: RMIT University

There is a new touch-screen therapy tool that could accelerate the recovery of patients who have suffered a stroke and change the way rehabilitation is delivered in hospitals and homes.

About EDNA Digital Rehabilitation Software

As reported, EDNA is a digital rehabilitation software designed for people with acquired brain injuries.

The software delivers therapy through a series of fun and challenging therapeutic games via a touchscreen device.

A randomised clinical trial discovered that stroke patients who have incorporated EDNA into their treatment programs have experienced an improvement that is two to three times greater than those who received only conventional therapy.

Associate Professor Jonathan Duckworth, lead researcher from Australia’s RMIT University, explained that the digital form of rehabilitation was intended to maintain patient engagement, improving compliance and recovery.

EDNA was designed in order for the patients to do therapy without it feeling like an actual therapy.

The software features a range of therapeutic games that involve tangible and graspable tools with augmented feedback, promoting brain plasticity to regain motor, cognitive and functional ability.

Therapists can remotely review the integrated data, monitor recovery and delivery tailored treatment programs as performance data is collected and stored in the cloud.

Although the results could not yet be used to predict longer-term recovery, the findings were promising and have shown the value of including EDNA as part of a therapy toolkit.

The software has great potential to transform the industry and improve outcomes for patients. It is the first upper-limb brain injury rehabilitation system to integrate clinic and home therapy to monitor recovery.

The team has worked closely with patients in testing and designing EDNA to ensure it will actually be used and the results are promising.

The recent clinical trial, published in the Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation, involved a specialised table-top touch screen.


Stroke is one of the most common forms of acquired brain injury and currently affects half a million Australians. It often results in impaired hand and reach-function, which makes it a leading cause of disability.

Early and intensive rehabilitation leads to improved functional outcomes. However, only 50% of stroke patients receive adequate therapy.

Benefits of EDNA Digital Rehabilitation Software

A new study is now underway at Sydney’s Prince of Wales hospital using a portable version that allows for increased treatment frequency with independent therapy at home.

Principle investigator and neuropsychologist from the University of Sydney, Dr Jeff Rogers, said the innovative technology had delivered benefits for stroke patients that had exceeded expectations.

Study co-author, Professor Peter Wilson from the Australian Catholic University, explained that a home-based therapeutic solution had the potential to reduce the number of weekly hospital visits and aligned with recent trends towards patient-centred rehabilitation.

Patients can struggle to maintain therapy activities between sessions, so having a portable device to take home and use on their own could increase therapy uptake and speed up recovery.

The research was supported by RMIT through the Design and Creative Practice Enabling Capability Platforms (ECP) Opportunity Fund and the Australian Government through Accelerating Commercialisation, an element of the Entrepreneurs’ Programme.

Initiatives Across the Globe

Several initiatives across the globe are being made to address stroke. In Singapore, for instance, the first brain bank is made possible by Nanyang Technological University, Singapore’s (NTU Singapore) Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine), in partnership with National Healthcare Group (NHG) and National Neuroscience Institute (NNI).

Establishing a national brain bank resource in Singapore is a shared vision of researchers and clinicians within the neuroscience community.

Brain Bank Singapore is an elevated platform on which neuroscientists and clinician-scientists can work together to find solutions that will address debilitating brain diseases in Singapore.

Meanwhile, in New Zealand, an engineering researcher from the University of Auckland is developing a virtual therapy technology for personal rehabilitation.

The goal is to make real progress towards creating low-cost robotic ‘virtual therapists’ with the ability to deliver automatic but very precise treatments.

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