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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Channing Tatum adds star power to Carly Fleischmann's non-verbal talk show

CTV National News: A non-verbal talk show?
Carly Fleishmann can't speak, but she's opening up a world of possibilities by communicating through typing. Avis Favaro reports. 

    Karolyn Coorsh, Staff
    Published Friday, May 6, 2016 10:15PM EDT 
    A smart and sassy 21-year-old who has autism has created a talk show in the hopes of inspiring others to find their voice.  
    Carly Fleischmann, of Ontario, can’t speak, but that hasn’t stopped her from launching what is believed to be the world’s first-ever non-verbal talk show.
    The online show, called “Speechless” is going viral after she snagged one of Hollywood’s hottest stars for her debut interview – actor Channing Tatum.
    As host of the show, Fleischmann types her questions, which are then voiced by her computer and posed to the interviewee.
    Many people assumed that Fleischmann’s future was limited after she was diagnosed with autism and oral motor apraxia at age two. But after learning to type, Fleischmann revealed her razor-sharp mind. Since then, she has co-published a book, appeared on multiple TV shows, and is now aiming to become the world’s first non-verbal talk show host with autism. Her objective, she says, is to “prove that it doesn’t matter what comes out of your mouth, it’s the voice within that needs to shine.”
    And she doesn’t shy away from the asking provocative questions.
    In her interview with Tatum, Fleischmann asks, “Would you date a 21-year-old person with autism?” Tatum quips: “Yes … but I have to get my wife’s permission first.”
    Fleischmann’s shoots back: “Alright, I’ve got my lawyers working on your divorce papers as we speak.”  
    And she didn’t stop there, asking Tatum about his previous career as a male stripper. “How many girls at the end of your night would take you home” she asks as Tatum laughs.
    Her mother, Tammy Starr, said she was “laughing my head off” when saw the interview.
    “I couldn’t believe the question,” Starr said of her daughter’s bold style. “These are questions he’s never been asked … before.”
    Fleischmann is hoping a major network picks up her show.
    Laurie Mawlam, executive director of Autism Canada called Fleischmann an inspiration.
    “Ultimately, we should all follow our dreams and that is what she is doing,” Mawlam told CTV News. “Autism is not an obstacle for her.”
    With a report by CTV News medical specialist Avis Favaro and producer Elizabeth St. Philip

    Wheelchair controlled by facial expressions to hit the market within 2 years

    Wheelie uses facial commands to move
    Wheelie uses facial commands to move. View gallery (4 images)
    Brazilian researchers have developed a wheelchair that can be controlled through small facial, head or iris movements. The team at Faculdade de Engenharia Elétrica e de Computação da Universidade Estadual de Campinas (FEEC/Unicamp) says the technology could help people with cerebral palsy, those who have suffered a stroke or live with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and other conditions that prevent precise hand movements.
    The team started to look into brain-computer interface (BCI) techniques (the acquisition and processing of signals that allow communication between the brain and an external device) in 2011. The group then decided to test those techniques in a real life situation.
    The researchers built their prototype from a standard motored chair, removed the joystick and equipped it with sensors that can gauge the distance between walls and other objects, and pick up variations on floor surface.
    A notebook that sends commands directly to the chair using a 3D camera running on Intel's RealSense technology was installed, which caters for interaction with a computer through facial and body expressions. RealSense is a stand-alone camera that uses depth-sensing technology and can be attached to any computer. The set includes a standard camera, an infrared laser projector, an infrared camera and a microphone array.
    "The camera can identify more than 70 facial points around the mouth, nose and eyes. By moving these points, it is possible to get simple commands, such as forward, backward, left or right and, most importantly, stop," says the researcher Eleri Cardozo. Voice interaction is also possible, but the researchers say it less reliable because of differences in voice timbre and ambient noise.
    The chair was also equipped with a Wi-Fi antenna that allows a caregiver to steer the equipment remotely through the internet, which could be handy should a wheelchair user get tired. 
    For patients with more serious conditions where facial movement is not possible, the team is also looking into a BCI technology that can pick signals directly from the brain through external electrodes and turn them into commands, though this type of equipment has not been added on the robotic chair yet.
    The research team recently received extra funding to move forward with the project so it can be adapted and marketed in Brazil within the next two years. "Our objective is that the final product costs, at most, twice as much as joystick-controlled models, which sell for around R$7,000 (US$1,994)." To do that, a start-up called Hoo-Box has been created, which will focus on developing the Wheelie system further.
    The researchers presented their project at the Third Brainn Congress in the city of Campinas, Brazil, in April.
    Source: Fapesp

    Tuesday, May 3, 2016

    The ALS Association 2016 Clinical Conference

    The ALS Association 2016 Clinical Conference call for presentations and posters is now open. Submissions will be accepted until May 27, 2016.  

    This conference will be a two-day clinical conference for allied health professionals, clinic coordinators, practice administrators and social workers.  

    The conference will focus on exchanging information on best practices and emerging trends in ALS care.  Updates on adaptive technologies, respiratory devices, options for augmentative communication, end-of-life, psychological and allied health issues will also be featured.

    Intended inference participants include speech language pathologists, social workers and counselors, nurses, assistive technology specialists, physical and occupational therapists, respiratory therapists, dietitians, physicians, and research coordinators.  

    We welcome abstracts for platform (speaking) presentations of a variety of ALS-relevant topics: innovative approached to clinical management, potential solutions to challenges faced by people living with ALS, family/caregiver support and outreach strategies.  Individual speakers, panel discussion, and research updates are welcome.  Speakers should plan on a 30 or 30 minute time slot.  All accepted speakers and poster presenters will be offered complimentary registration for the conference.  

    Suggested topics for the 2016 Clinical Conference (please note these are only suggestions. We welcome ANY ALS Clinical Submission)

    The Disease
    Introduction to ALS
    Physical Activity for People with ALS
    Genetics in ALS

    Research and Clinical Trials
    Clinical Trials in ALS (past, present, future)
    National ALS Registry

    Clinical Management
    Adaptive and Assistive Technology
    Outreach programs to Underserved Areas
    Nutrition Management and PEGs
    Genetic Counseling and Testing
    Palliative Care and Hospice Services
    Cognitive and Behavioral Assessment and Management
    Respiratory Decisions and Options Along the Journey
    Symptom Management
    Driving Issues
    Psychosocial Issues in ALS
    Quality of Life Issues
    Issues of End of Life Care
    Communication Challenges and Strategies
    Multidisciplinary Teams
    Scientific Investigation of Alternative Treatments
    Mobility and Activities of Daily Living
    Diagnosis and Management of ALS/MND in Spectrum in Clinic
    Speech and Swallowing Interventions and/or Techniques

    Social Work Practices and Programs
    Support for Children, Teen, and Young Adults
    Assessing and Meeting Caregiver Needs
    Intimacy and Spirituality in ALS
    Advanced Planning
    Care Management and Professional Boundaries

    Insurance and Financial Resources
    Financial Issues – Health and Life Insurance Resources
    Funding for Assistive Technology
    How to Ensure that Insurance Overs Prescribed Durable Medical Equipment
    Updates on Medicare Changes
    Skilled vs. Custodial Home Healthcare coverage – Medicare/Medicaid/Private Insurance

    Supporting Professional Caregivers
    Preventing Professional Burnout and Compassion Fatigue
    Energize and Revitalize – Remaining Positive at Work
    Maintaining Work/Life Balance

    Full details about the conference can be found in the official flyer: