Video Games as Rehab with Dr Nick Housley PT, DPT, PhD of Motus Nova


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By Mariah Morgan & Eryn Martin, Mariah Morgan, and Eryn Martin. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Are you looking to regain movement and independence days or years after your stroke? Take a listen, this rehab approach may be for you! Our last episode introduced everyone to Motus Nova, a company that uses technology and video games to regain movement post stroke or neurologic injury. We were so fascinated by this pairing of technology and recovery that we wanted to learn more about how it works.Dr. Nick Housley, Director of Clinical Research at Motus Nova, joins us in this episode to talk about how incorporating fine motor skills into rehab gets huge results! We are not endorsed by this company but love what they are doing so much that we just had to share. Have you given Motus Nova a shot? Let us know what you think!

Covered in this episode:

  • Nick’s Survivor Story: Turning Trauma Upside Down
  • Professional cyclist who was the victim of unsportsmanlike conduct resulting in a crash
  • Nick suffered facial fractures, jaw fractures, and a brain bleed resulting in hospitalization, reconstructive surgery, and rehab
  • He was a student in genetics/pre-med prior to the crash but his experience with rehab helped him to change career paths to physical therapy school at Georgia State University
  • He became very interested in neuro-recovery and became connected with the neuroplasticity lab where he met David Wu. This was where the Motus Nova company was born
  • He became involved in researching how the technology could increase access to rehab by providing remote rehab through trials with the VA
  • He also got a Ph. D in neuroscience to better understand neural recovery
  • Dr. Nick is the Director of Clinical Research at Motus Nova
  • He is responsible for maintaining a high standard of safe care
  • They are constantly tweaking the technology so you can get the best gains
  • He makes sure that the assistance the Motus hand and foot provides is appropriately tuned so that it does not induce spasticity and pain
  • He makes sure they have the scientific evidence to back up the device and works to put the science on the front line making it applicable to survivors
  • What is the current research telling them? How do they take all the data that is collected by the device to make your rehab better?
  • Movement based rehab is the gold standard for physical stroke recovery
  • More quality rehab= better results and recovery
  • The technology collecting data helps scientists to understand what the most important parameters are in movement recovery
  • The device makes subtle changes based on how you as an individual are doing. It detects what your body needs to get the best result. It can detect more than a human therapist can.
  • The Motus hand and foot couples a therapist and technology together to get the best results and designs a program that is optimal for you. It helps to take some of the guesswork out of what you need to recover
  • Motus evaluates you and gives truly individualized care
  • Motus looks at a person’s abilities to best use what you can do to improve what you can’t
  • Current research is working on engaging stroke survivors who have little to no functional movement as they have the least amount of ongoing rehab available to them
  • Why does Motus Nova focus on the hand or foot rather than the whole limb in people with hemiparesis?
  • When you focus on the fine motor skills it has a carryover effect to the larger muscle groups. Fine movements lead to whole limb recovery.
  • Focusing on the hand or foot gives the most good to the most amount of people
  • If you have the ability to use your hand or foot again, it gives you back pieces of your life and movements that you need to do the daily tasks of life
  • Motus Nova focuses on gaining back freedom of movement so you can gain independence
  • The Motus foot helps you get balance and support back in your foot which gets you back to walking faster and further
  • Why is walking speed important? Safety in the community--you need to get across the street before the light changes.
  • The foot helps you regain balance to prevent falls
  • The ankle gives you the push off you need to propel forward when walking--you need this propulsion to generate the power in your bigger muscles so that you can walk. This is why Motus Nova focuses on the foot/ankle
  • Who can the Motus Hand and Motus Foot benefit?
  • Anyone with ongoing upper or lower extremity impairment, even years out!
  • Limb contractures
  • Foot drop
  • Anyone who is feeling depressed or like there is nothing left for rehab to recover limb movement
  • If you are interested, reach out and talk with them--they’ll evaluate to see if this could help you
  • Where is Motus looking to be in the future?
  • They want to increase awareness that this technology is available
  • They are continuing to learn from users adjusting the video games and devices to provide the best rehab
  • They are looking to develop devices for other joints
  • They are looking to increase therapists’ knowledge so they can provide the most therapy to the most people
  • They are rising to meet the needs of all who want to use technology
  • They continue to research and come up with ideas to trial so they can provide technology that will lead to best outcomes.
  • Continued research on how to stimulate areas of the brain to lead to recovered movement.

Links to any resources mentioned:


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