Human Performance Research
Muscle dysfunction, due to chronic disease (e.g. suffering from Diabetes, COPD, Osteoarthritis, Osteoporosis, Obesity and Frailty) and or disuse, is an important determinant of adverse muscle skeletal loading, poor movement performance and reduced mobility in daily life.
Unraveling the pathomechanics in these patients is a major challenge that requires a multidisciplinary approach. The Human Performance Laboratory (HPL) hosts a range of facilities dedicated to determining muscular capacity as well as the assessment of muscle-skeletal performance during activities of daily life.
To allow controlled metabolic studies in patients under close supervision of medical specialists, the Academic Hospital has allocated special so-called patient centred research facilities to the institutes. NUTRIM and MUMC+ have a strong collaboration with CIRO: Centre for integrated care for chronic organ diseases in Horn and with Maxima Medical Centre in Eindhoven.
CAREN movement system - 'Flight simulator'
CAREN stands for Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment and can best be described as a ‘running belt with a virtual environment’ or ‘flight simulator’, and is used for carrying out stress tests on the human musculoskeletal system. The CAREN system allows the movement of various types of patients, healthy test subjects and athletes to be examined under realistic conditions.
Information: Dr. Kenneth Meijer, Department of Movement Sciences
The treadmill on which the patient or test subject moves is part of a platform that can turn, move and rotate in all directions. At the same time, the patient watches a screen onto which a virtual reality is projected. This might entail walking through a virtual forest, or sailing across virtual oceans. It is not possible for the patient to fall: if he loses his balance, he is protected by a safety harness that is attached to a large frame. The patient’s movements are constantly monitored using body markers, infrared cameras and a system that registers pressure on the treadmill. This allows factors such as balance, coordination and mobility to be analysed continually. The innovative motion analysis system enables patients with a failing musculoskeletal system to be trained effectively, thus facilitating faster functional recovery.
Diagnosis and examinations
CAREN is to be implemented by the Human Performance Lab for diagnostic and examination purposes in the field of human movement. This will involve new rehabilitation methods with which the patient can be tested and trained under realistic conditions. CAREN can be used for all age categories, from children with musculoskeletal system problems and adults with joint pain, to elderly patients with osteoporosis or a tendency to fall. There is currently only one type of motion system in use in the Netherlands, in the Aardenburg Military Rehabilitation Centre in Doorn. The system is often used in the USA to help in the rehabilitation of soldiers.