John Tolley, November 10, 2018
What is up, Big Ten Nation? Cold much? The winds are whipping across the Midwest now, and in most places at least a dusting of snow has settled on the ground. Feels like it's high time to bundle up in a blanket, marshmallow up a mug of cocoa, crack open a good book, turn on Netflix, put the book down, and binge watch The Haunting of Hill House for the rest of the? nah, you know what time it is.
It's RESEARCH RUMBLE time!!!
As a tonic to the general malaise and hearty portions incumbent to the season, we're bringing you two stories of Big Ten universities kicking healthy up a few notches.
In one corner, we have the burly Boilermakers who are looking Parkinson's disease right in the eye and saying, "You suck. No one likes you. Move out." I mean, not literally, but it feels like it what with the way they're giving people with Parkinson's a fun and engaging way to combat the ill effects of the malady. And how? With videogames. I know, it's almost too awesome.
In the other, the Golden Gophers, a university that respects the toothy grin of their beloved mascot such that they have created a mobile dental lab to traverse Minnesota and SPREAD. SMILES. FOR. MILES. Patients who lack ready access to dental care (particularly the elderly, Medicaid and Medicare recipients and those living in rural areas) are getting the treatment they need all thanks to faculty and students who know that to LiveBIG is to GIVE BIG.
So, we say unto you, in the words of our forefathers?.
Let's prepare ourselves to Research Rumble!!!!!!!!!!
There are also numerous ancillary benefits to the program, Huber notes. By gamifying therapy sessions, the work becomes more fun for the patient, and can be a motivating factor for family and friends to join in. Also, as the games are available on connected platforms like the Wii, therapy can be moved into the home; therapists can monitor a patient's progress remotely and new programs can be downloaded as progress is made.
"The goal is to make something that is fun, but at the same time challenging and therapeutic in way that will actually help the patient," says Haddad. "We did a number of measures, like studying [participant's] speech, gait, balance and even some psychosocial measures, like their quality of life. Our preliminary evidence suggests that the games do seem to be very helpful and do seem to be improving some of the symptoms."
Minnesota is one big state. Its 86,936 square miles span from frigid International Falls down through the headwaters of the Mississippi, from the shores of Lake Superior to the vast plains of North and South Dakota.
That immensity is no discouragement, though, for the students and staff of the University of Minnesota's UCare Mobile Dental Clinic, who traverse the state bringing critical dental care to the communities that need it most.
"In 2002, began a partnership that exists today between UCare and the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, to provide access to UCare members that have been underserved for many years," says Dr. Paul Schulz, Director of the Mobile Dental Clinic. "We travel Minnesota 48 weeks out of the year to provide that much-needed dental care."