Rehabilitative and Assistive Technology: NICHD Research Goals

Research activities related to rehabilitative and assistive technology have a home in the NICHD’s National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research (NCMRR). The NCMRR aims to foster the development of scientific knowledge needed to enhance the health, productivity, independence, and quality of life of people with disabilities. In addition, NCMRR-supported research is bringing the health-related problems of people with disabilities to the attention of the best scientists in order to capitalize upon the myriad advances occurring in the biological, behavioral, and engineering sciences.

The Center’s Behavioral Sciences and Rehabilitation Technologies (BSRT) Program develops and supports the application of engineering and bioengineering principles to study the rehabilitation of people with disabilities. It supports research for developing assistive technology aimed at helping people with disabilities perform daily activities; the rehabilitation engineering technologies portion of this program is the lead on such tasks.

Like the BSRT Program, a large portion of activities supported by the Spinal Cord and Musculoskeletal Disorders and Assistive Devices Program focus on developing and supporting the application of devices to improve the human-environment interface and restore or enhance a person’s capacity to function in his or her environment. This type of applied research and rehabilitation technology includes prosthetics, wheelchairs, biomechanical modeling, and other devices that aim to enhance mobility, communication, cognition, and environmental control.

The Center’s Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Stroke Rehabilitation (TSR) Program supports research to understand all aspects of TBI and stroke. Not only does the program aim to develop and assess medical rehabilitation therapies and interventions to improve function, quality of life, and outcomes, but it also supports efforts related to secondary conditions of TBI and stroke, such as muscle atrophy, speech and language difficulties, pain, and psychological and psychosocial?

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