In 2019 and 2020 we acquired some major fundings.
451 k€ for the thumb osteoarthritis exercise trial (THETA); a multicenter, randomized controlled trial on exercise therapy with an orthosis compared to an orthosis alone in patients with thumb base osteoarthritis.
769 k€ for the ArmCoach4Stroke project, an interactive tool for self-directed, home-based and personalized arm rehabilitation after stroke; 499 k€ for the CO-FLOW study, a two-year follow up study after COVID hospitalization; 500 k€ for the DOCTOR study, an evaluation of the early intensive neurorehabilitation program for patients with disorders of consciousness in collaboration with Radboudumc and 400 K€ for the Convergence Grant Erasmus Medical Centre (subject Clinicians Controlling Rehabilitation Technology.
New clinical focus areas & research lines
For many years, the scientific staff consisted of four senior staff members, all of whom were human movement scientists.
However, as diversity brings differing insights, skills, and experiences into our research the rejuvenation and integration of clinical researchers among our scientific staff were defined strategic spearheads. Besides Acquired Brain Injury, Pediatric Rehabilitation and Spinal Cord injury were identified as new clinical focus areas and Innovative Rehabilitation Technology as new Research line.
In the Sophia Children’s Brain Lab, part of the Pediatric Brain Center of Erasmus MC, we launched the first online survey for parents and children: Your vOte for Meaningful Outcomes (YOMO).
At the Child Brain Lab, our doctors and scientists test, among others, the brain function and development of children with head, brain or sensory disorders. The goal of the YOMO survey is to incorporate the perspective of parents and children. What aspects of the child’s functioning and development do they consider important? Thus, parents and their child are involved as partners in this project from the beginning. Meaningful outcomes range from communication, learning, behaviour and mobility to sports, school performance and friendships. The setup of the Child Brain Lab is realized with funding by Friends of Sophia Hospital Foundation from gifts and donations (3200 k€).
We also launched a national longitudinal database on childhood aphasia. Large cohort studies on aphasia in children are lacking and many questions regarding language recovery in this population are still unanswered. The project is a multicenter project, in which more than 20 Dutch health care institutions are participating.
This research focuses on mobility related issues in persons with spinal cord injured (SCI), with the overall aim to improve functioning and health.
Current projects focus on physical behaviour in (ambulatory) people with SCI, the development of innovative gait analysis and innovative mobility interventions. For these projects we cooperate with several departments of the Erasmus MC (e.g. neurosurgery, anaesthesiology, neuroscience, clinical neurophysiology, radiology), the Technical University Delft and rehabilitation centres in the Netherlands.
Heike Vallery received her Dipl.-Ing. degree in Mechanical Engineering (with honors) from RWTH Aachen University in 2004. She received her Dr.-Ing. from the Technische Universität München in 2009.
From 2008 to 2011, she worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the SMS Lab at ETH Zürich. At that time, she and her collaborators started realizing diverse transparent robotic interfaces for 3D overground gait training, which are now enabling ground-breaking research on recovery after spinal cord injury. From 2011 to 2012, she worked at Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi as an assistant professor, and she joined TU Delft in 2012 in that same function. Today, as a full professor at TU Delft, she works on minimalistic and unconventional concepts to support human gait and balance. Since November 2019, she also holds a honorary professorship at the Department for Rehabilitation Medicine at Erasmus MC in Rotterdam. How can technological innovations support people with movement limitations?
That is an important question on which rehabilitation medicine focuses. Answering this question requires in-depth cooperation at the interface between technology and medicine. Heike Vallery is at this interface and does research in the field of bipedal walking and robotic support for patients with gait disorders. In her position as Professor of Innovative Rehabilitation Technology, Vallery will, in addition to carrying out her research, continue to shape the knowledge infrastructure in the field of innovative rehabilitation technology in scientific research, education and patient care. This collaboration will be further be strengthened by the cooperation with rehabilitation center Rijndam as a clinical test and expertise center and the universities of applied sciences in Rotterdam and The Hague in a Living Labs infrastructure.
Hans Bussmann is founder and past president of the International Society for the Measurement of Physical Behaviour (ISMBP). The ISMBP awarded Hans with the Hans Bussmann lecture on the International Conference on Ambulatory Monitoring of Physical Activity and Movement (ICAMPAM). Marij Roebroeck was nominated chair of the Lifespan Committee of American Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine to encourage and provide leadership in developing interdisciplinary educational programs for the membership on lifespan care issues including transition to adulthood, aging, and adult outcomes.
The societal impact of our research on aphasia is reflected in awarding clinical linguist and senior researcher Mieke van de Sandt the Tavistock Award 2019, a British award for initiatives with a major impact in the field of aphasia. Mieke van der Sandt was also awarded a Dutch knighthood when she retired in 2019.
For some years the department has organized the annual minor on Rehabilitation and Sports and in 2019 the minor Neurorehabilitation was introduced. Further a new course between EMC and TUD, called “case-based rehabilitation” was introduced as a pilot version with TUD honors students. With case-based rehabilitation we aim to generate more accessible rehabilitation technology for everyone, with a quick turn-around time between identification of need and solution. The department co-hosts the annual summer school for PhD students at the Medical Delta/Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (Shirley Ryan Ability lab). Research at this summer school mainly concerns precision medicine and the research performed with the Department of Neurosciences on electrostimulation.