The SMART Platform for Advancing Foundational and Translational Neuroscience
Injuries and diseases of the nervous system have devastating effects. Conditions such as stroke, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) often gravely compromise activities of vital importance to quality of life, including standing, walking, reaching, grasping, bladder and bowel control, breathing, communication, and the ability to adjust ones posture or even turn in bed. About 10% of Canadians currently live with a mobility impairment caused by a neurological condition and the vast majority of them (72%) do not feel that their therapy is effective in improving their function. What’s even worse, more than 500,000 Canadians currently are unable to leave their house because of their mobility impairment.
With the vast advances in neuroscience, engineering and computer science, we can develop many innovative devices and rehabilitation therapies that should be able to be much more effective in restoring function to persons experiencing mobility impairment. What’s needed is a national facility that has the infrastructure, specialized equipment, resources and skills that can allow neuroscientists, doctors, engineers, therapists and computer scientists to work together on projects that combine their knowledge to make new discoveries about the nervous system, and develop effective technologies and rehabilitation therapies that can improve function.
The Sensory Motor Adaptive Rehabilitation Technology (SMART) Platform is a state-of-the-art platform that has been successful at doing exactly that at the University of Alberta. Support from Brain Canada will allow us to open the this Platform to all neuroscientists, doctors, engineers, therapists and computer scientists who are interested in neurological conditions, and in developing exciting solutions to mobility impairment. Securing this funding will allow the SMART Platform to be the national resource that is much needed to improve the lives of millions of Canadians and enable them to participate fully in society and the work place.
Vivian Mushahwar , University of Alberta
Partners and Donors
University of Alberta