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2014 Fall

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TIRR Memorial Hermann Sponsors International Wearable Robotics Conference

Innovators from around the world gathered last September in Baiona, Spain, to discuss challenges and potential solutions for the development of wearable robotics that support advanced therapeutic interventions for stroke, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy and other neurological diseases. TIRR Memorial Hermann, Korea University and the Commission of the European Union were the major sponsors of the first International Workshop on Wearable Robotics, held September 14-19.

“Our sponsorship of the conference confirms our commitment to the development of wearable robotic technologies and to collaboration with robotics engineers from around the world,” says Gerard E. Francisco, M.D., chief medical officer at TIRR Memorial Hermann and chair of the department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth. “We want to be part of the team involved in making these advanced therapeutic interventions available to the community.”

Dr. Francisco, one of the nation’s leading physicians in the field of brain injury, stroke rehabilitation and spasticity management, was a member of the medical advisory board for the four-day workshop.

Dr. Francisco, one of the nation’s leading physicians in the field of brain injury, stroke rehabilitation and spasticity management, was a member of the medical advisory board for the four-day workshop. A frequent national and international lecturer, he is currently conducting research on the use of botulinum toxin and intrathecal baclofen for the treatment of spasticity, along with the use of robots to facilitate recovery after stroke or spinal cord injury. In his plenary lecture, Dr. Francisco presented “H2 NeuroExo: A Clinical Study in Post-stroke Gait Rehabilitation,” which summarizes the preliminary results of a collaborative study between the department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at McGovern Medical School, the University of Houston and the Spanish National Research Council.

“Although the conference was primarily for engineers, the planners made a conscious effort to include clinicians, giving us the opportunity to provide engineers with feedback on ways to improve their designs for the benefit of patients,” says Dr. Francisco, who lectured on the therapeutic uses of robots in stroke recovery. “Attending the conference gave us good information about technology currently under development. It was an excellent opportunity for the interchange of information.”

UTHealth physical medicine and rehabilitation researchers will have the use of a wearable robot designed by José L. Pons of the Neural Rehabilitation Group at the Spanish National Research Council with support from the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación. The wearable robot will be housed at the TIRR Memorial Hermann NeuroRecovery Research Center.