One of Australia’s leading academic neurosurgeons and Director of the Brain Injury Unit at Liverpool Hospital Dr Adeline Hodgkinson said research has shown patients can use every day technology such as smartphones and gaming consoles, at a fraction of the cost of medical equipment, to improve their therapy and care.
Dr Hodgkinson was one of the keynote speakers at 13th annual Health Beyond Research and Innovation Showcase held at the William Inglis Hotel in Warwick Farm last week.
South Western Sydney Local Health District and the Ingham Institute hosted the two-day even to promote the regions ground-breaking medical and healthcare research.
The program included a ‘Battle of the Mentors’ which featured students who pitched ideas in a bid to win a mentor, modeled on TV show The Voice.
Researchers also had the chance to seek support for their research projects from a lineup of judges in the ‘Innovation Tank’ competition, based on the Shark Tank television show.
Some of the keynote speakers included Mr Peter Ford, a biomedical engineer and inventor who helped the late Professor Stephen Hawking communicate and Professor Jeffrey Rosenfeld.
Dr Hodgkinson said interestingly rich environment and enjoyable activities promotes learning.
“Our rehabilitation wards are often dry and patients say ‘we hate it here’. That leads us to gamification – a Nintendo Wii can be more fun and it engages the patient in an activity,” Dr Hodgkinson said.
“Smart phones and iPad need to adapted to disability. Exercise based technology in the form of video game is being used now for practice. Research looks at the electrical conduction within the brain and spinal cord. There are then biochemical actions that are necessary for recovery.
“The games we’re using are simple. What we want to do is engage people in he thrill of that game. One of the patients really enjoyed Grand Theft Auto. It stimulated him more than other simple games.”
- More stories on Showcase and beyond to come next week.