CPHSS director Dr. Doug Luke and affiliate faculty member Dr. Amar Dhand recently received funding for a study tracking the social mechanisms of stroke recovery. The project was one of 21 awarded by the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Foundation (BJHF) and Washington University Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences (ICTS) Clinical and Translational Funding Program. This program offers ICTS members the opportunity to apply for funds to advance medical knowledge that can improve human health.
The BJHF/ICTS Funding Program award will provide for an innovative study that aims to track social factors affecting stroke recovery. Research has shown that social factors influence stroke recovery outcomes, but they are poorly understood and many social support interventions have been unsuccessful. Studying person-to-person interactions in recovering stroke patients will allow scientists to build better social network interventions to improve stroke recovery.
To study these interactions, Luke and Dhand have proposed a novel method of data collection: the body-worn camera. Recording a steady stream of images from a first-person perspective, these cameras can allow for direct, objective, and accurate measurements of social interactions in the wearer’s everyday life. The first of its kind in stroke research, this study will work to validate the tool through three aims: determining the accuracy of camera images to capture meaningful interactions, building a face-detection algorithm to identify meaningful interactions, and developing an ethical framework to use this technology in real-world settings. “This is the first time that the social life of a stroke patient may be directly and objectively measured,” explains Dhand. “This not only opens up a new line of inquiry, but also has the potential to enhance stroke recovery by harnessing social network analysis.”
For more information, see WUSTL's Institute for Public Health website.