New institute for research into rehab

New institute for research into rehab
(From left) A*Star deputy managing director (corporate & legal) Suresh Sachi; NTU provost Freddy Boey; A*Star chairman Lim Chuan Poh; NHG group CEO Chee Yam Cheng; Health Minister Gan Kim Yong; NHG deputy group CEO (education & research) Lim Tock Han; and dean of NTU’s College of Engineering Ng Wun Jern at the launch of the Rehabilitation Research Institute of Singapore yesterday.

A new centre to carry out research into rehabilitation from strokes or serious injuries will be created after three institutions signed a $100 million deal yesterday.

The Rehabilitation Research Institute of Singapore is a collaboration between the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and the National Healthcare Group.

Each will lend its expertise in various fields - such as research, engineering or clinical practice.

The new institute will focus on helping victims of strokes or serious injuries to recover their functionality.

It will not have a physical location at first, though it is hoped a home for it will be found within two to three years. Some of its projects are already under way.

A*Star's executive director, Dr Tan Geok Leng, said: "If you want to make an impact on people, you have to bring the clinicians and doctors into the picture so that we move beyond what is perhaps a toy into something that people can use."

NTU provost Freddy Boey added that the university's strengths in robotics and biomedical applications would help translate research into reality.

"Inter-disciplinary research... is the way forward if we want to effectively tackle the health challenges of an increasingly ageing population," he said.

The three institutions signed a memorandum of understanding at this year's Singapore Health and Biomedical Congress, the largest health-care scientific meeting here.

Yesterday's launch was attended by 3,000 delegates from Asia, Australia, Britain and the United States.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong was guest of honour at the opening ceremony of the meeting, which ends today.

The new research institute will also look into biomechanics and developing computer games to aid rehabilitation.

Dr Chan Kay Fei, a senior consultant with Tan Tock Seng Hospital's department of rehabilitation medicine, said the latter can make therapy sessions more fun for patients.

He added: "What would normally seem to be very tiring, unmotivating exercise becomes interesting because you're always engaged in something like a game."

This article was first published on Sept 27, 2014.
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