Computer gaming technology can help improve outcomes for people with movement disorders. Researchers at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital have introduced an innovative assessment of people’s gait using the gaming and 3D technology. It has been developed to help burns patients, stroke victims, people with acquired neurological disorders as well as babies and those with complex gait and mobility problems improve their mobility and quality of life.
The Queensland Motion Analysis Centre provides a three dimensional view of a patient, giving a precise profile of gait and movement. Lead researcher at the facility, Dr Robyn Grote, said prior to this technology, clinicians had a much more limited view of patient abnormalities. “In the past this led to misdiagnoses and even complications with repeated procedures.” She said movement that is free of pain is fundamental to health and wellbeing. “The motion analysis service will allow patients to achieve optimal movement through this state-of-the-art assessment.”
Dr Grote said benefits have already been established in paediatrics at the Royal Children’s Hospital with surgical interventions reduced by up to 35 per cent and a health saving of $1 million per child over their lifetime. The research will also assist specialist clinicians, surgeons and allied health staff to plan and monitor treatments for these patient groups.
University student, Finbar Mills has learned to walk again using the technology after being involved in a motorcross accident in 2009 which left him a paraplegic.
“They uncovered information about my movement, provided better diagnosis and discovered which muscle was not performing properly and how it affected my gait. The process gave me insight into how my body was working and gave my rehabilitation team additional information to target my treatment. I could also view my own progress,” Mills said.
The Motion Analysis Centre was opened by the Premier of Queensland, Campbell Newman and the Minister for Health, Lawrence Springborg, pictured with patient, Finbar Mills.