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Alberta Innovation: Technology Helps Cancer And Stroke Patients Relearn How To Swallow-Edmonton

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Innovative technology created in Alberta has helped teach patients with cancer and stroke how to swallow again.

Dr. Jana Rieger and her team created Mobili-T to help patients with dysphagia. This is the medical term for dysphagia that occurs as a side effect of these medical conditions.

“Every meal the patient sits on is a horrifying event because it chokes the food,” explained Liger. “It’s also really dangerous. When it gets into their lungs, they can have some serious consequences like pneumonia.”

Read more: Im a goner: How COVID-19 exacerbates the challenge for cancer patients in Canada

As part of a typical treatment, patients are taught to exercise their swallowing muscles. The problem, according to Liger, is that these machines are large and can only be used in the clinic.

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“If patients want treatment, they need to receive intensive care, but that didn’t happen. They had to do it for days and months in a row. It’s in their lives. Invaded. “

Mobili-T allows patients to be treated at home. The wireless device connects to your throat and can sense muscle activity. This software provides feedback to patients via smart devices. The device is also directly connected to a speech-language pathologist.

Tim Murphy of Alberta Innovates said the device is a perfect example of digital health and focuses on giving patients more control over care.

“You give them the information they need, where they need it and when they need it,” he said. “So they can make good decisions about their health.”

From testing to treatment, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated virtual care nationwide.

“We’ve been in this direction for a long time. I think we’ve reached a turning point,” said Liger. “It will be revolutionary.”

According to Liger, Alberta Innovates was a great support network for her work, including when she made the leap from academia to commercialization.

Read more: The pandemic exacerbated the care gap and reduced cancer diagnoses by 30%: Alberta Physicians

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“They have a relationship that provides funding and mentorship … they are all really important for growth,” she explained. “Their support is very important to the success of what we are doing.”

Lieger, a professor at the University of Alberta, said the device empowers patients.

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Murphy said he hopes Alberta will become a magnet for investment in healthcare technology, while producing better care outcomes in Alberta.

“What that means for people is less hospitalization and less hospital visits,” he said.

“Digital health is basically the care provided to people made possible by technology.”

Mobili-T is only sold in the US market. The team is working on Health Canada approval, according to Liger.

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