DREX Clinical Trial

In a previous blog post we have talked about one of our projects looking at improving rehabilitation for stroke and brain injury survivors in great detail. However this is not the only question we are investigating. Today, let us have a look into our recent clinical trial which aims to investigate the effectiveness of using DREX for touchscreen tablets and personal computers.

The previous versions of the training demonstrated positive therapeutic effects and improved quality of life. Now, the training has been developed into a multi-platform app called Durham Reading and Exploration (DREX) training in order to improve usability and access. Will this new training work as well as the previous version or are both touchscreen and computer training equally effective so patients could opt for any preferred method for rehabilitation?

To answer this question, this research project will evaluate the effectiveness of the DREX app in a controlled trial. If successful, the training app could benefit many patients with partial visual loss by providing a free, effective and accessible rehabilitation aid. In this trial, we train individuals with non-progressive visual field loss such as hemianopia (visual loss at right or left side of visual field) or quadrantanopia (visual loss at a quarter part of visual field, could be right or left, upper or lower part). Participants are able to complete the assessment and training at their own home. However, if they would like to do the assessment at Durham University, we can make an arrangement for a suitable slot.

Visual Fields Blog

(Reproduced from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fullvf.png)

The impact of DREX training on the primary behavioural functions of reading and visual exploration will also be evaluated to demonstrate if the impaired reading and visual exploration skills can be improved after both are trained. This trial will further investigate the transferability of the benefits to the activities of daily living, mood and depression, participation and motivation to engage in rehabilitation, and attitude towards visual impairment and disability. The result of these assessments will reflect patient’s acceptance for the training program and the potential wider impact of this on socio-emotional factors.

One of the interesting features of this new training app is we have incorporated self-assessment tests which will help patients to monitor and know their progression. This trial will validate these self-assessment tests by comparing them with the standardised measures. If the assessments are validated, it will allow the clinical team, such as doctors, optometrists and occupational therapists, to track patients’ progression remotely and will enable suggestions be made to improve training experience. With the built-in assessments, patients will then know how well they are doing and how much benefit they have gained from the training.

DREX Home Use

Do you know anyone with partial visual field loss? Would they benefit from training? Or are you interested to take part and join us? Here at the Psychology Department, Durham University, we are looking for patients with partial visual field defects like hemianopia or quadrantanopia, aged 18 years and above, to take part in this clinical trial. If you would you like to know more or ask us any questions then feel free to contact the Chief Investigator of this trial, Mr Azuwan Musa at 0191 334 0588 or send an email to azuwan.musa@durham.ac.uk.

Thanks for reading and we will see you soon!


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