Welcome to this issue on Technology: Adapting the future of rehabilitation!
Tech • nol • o • gy
Since we live in the Digital Age, we think of it as computers, machines, smartphones…
But technology is an old term. Since ancient times, technology used in war has ushered the rise and fall of civilizations… armies with iron-wheeled chariots smashed those without. The empire with the best tech won.
In contrast, other technologies ― like Roman aqueducts, Gutenberg’s printing press, and vaccines ― have improved the lives of ordinary citizens.
In and of itself, technology is neutral; it all depends on how we use it. Unfortunately, this issue of rehabINK does not have any articles on the ethics of technology use. Instead, I point you to Sheila Jasanoff’s (1) arguments for citizen participation regarding “technologies of humility” to answer questions of “should we?” and not only “can we?”
Thankfully, most uses of technology in rehabilitation are apparently positive. It could be argued that technology and rehabilitation make a natural pairing because rehabilitation is about the restoration of health and function, and technology is “the use of scientific knowledge to solve practical problems” (2).
Tech • nol • o • gy
Without it, rehabINK would not exist. We would not have the international reach that we do, and we would not be able to interact with our readers. We have leveraged technologies to tell the stories of rehabilitation science in novel and diverse ways.
Case in point: Episode 1 of our podcast on Women & Brain Health.
And we want to hear from you! What do you think rehabINK can do better? Differently? Tell us in our survey ― we invite citizen participation!
Technology is always changing. But our vision holds true as we move towards a world of rehabilitation research, practice, and advocacy.
So help us shape our future, and happy reading (and listening)!
Adora Chui, Editor-in-Chief
- Jasanoff S. Technologies of humility. Nature. 2007;450:33.
- 2011. In The American Heritage® Science Dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.dictionary.com/browse/technology?s=t
I’m very excited to present the 8th issue of the rehabINK magazine! Our team has worked diligently to produce eight well-written articles on a variety of different technologies that can be used to help improve and/or restore physical and mental function in rehabilitation.
Here is the lay of the land:
- Nithin Jacob writes about the promising use of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) to help relieve symptoms in individuals with epilepsy, schizophrenia, and depression.
- Insiya Bhalloo and Kai Leung discuss speech-language therapy going online, offering “telerehabilitation” to make therapy more accessible and cost-effective.
- Vahid Anwari and colleagues walk us through how 3D printing works and explore ways in which it can be used to visualize and create prosthetic limbs.
- Yilina Liubaoerjijin and colleagues describe 3D motion capture technology applied to gait and wheelchair mechanics, with the ultimate goal of improving diagnosis and treatment of individuals with disabilities.
- Alexandra Krassikova introduces us to seals (no, not the animals!), the socially assistive robots that can help improve the psychological well-being of persons with dementia.
- Bismah Khalid contends that virtual reality is not just for video games but that it has a place in rehabilitation to help loved ones, caregivers, and clinicians see the patient’s perspective with compassion.
- Kathleen Waterston discusses the use of functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) as a non-invasive approach to treat tics related to Tourette’s, a condition for which few treatments exist.
- Stephanie Scodras eloquently critiques MRI scanning for non-emergency lower back pain screening, asking the quintessential question: “Just because we have the technology, should we use it?”
From 3D printing limbs to stimulating the brain with powerful magnets, from visualizing macular degeneration to assistive robots supporting our well-being, this issue covers a lot of ground.
While preparing this issue, we realized technology in rehabilitation is not an easy topic to write about. Describing technical methodology can be complex, riddled with scientific jargon, and dependent on pre-existing knowledge of science and/or engineering. Since rehabINK aims to publish accessible content that appeals to both academic and non-academic readers, we welcomed the challenge of relaying information in an engaging and digestible manner while retaining scientific fidelity. I hope you find these articles to be just that, interesting and understandable, while able to consider the values and limitations of technological advances in rehabilitation.
It is clear that technology in rehabilitation is a multi-faceted topic and calls for further discussion. And you can chime in! rehabINK recently launched our podcast and in our next issue, we plan to interview select authors from this issue and we’d love to ask your questions. Please comment, email, or tweet any questions you may have and we will add them to the discussion.
Enjoy Issue 8 and stay tuned for our next podcast episode!
Julia Rybkina, Winter Issue 8 Managing Editor
Did you enjoy this article? Please help us improve by completing a short reader feedback survey. Thank you!
To refer to this article, it can be cited as:
Chui A, Rybkina J. Letter from the editors. rehabINK. 2020;8. Available from: https://rehabinkmag.com