BLOG - HOCKEY & HEAVY METAL
March 28, 2014 • 06:44 AM
BACK TO SCHOOL, PART 3 OF 3: THE FIRST CLINICAL TEST
After lunch on Thursday, we spent afternoon going over the initial findings and reactions of the students from their use of the cuff, with Katie Wyman leading the discussion while we watched the videos they shot of themselves trying on and using the Cuff in the SFSU gym. At that point we went back over the really strong string of Google Group posts about it that the students made right after they used the Cuff. The students were able to confirm a few things that I had long expected to be true: the version of the Cuff that I use and that the soldiers at Walter Reed use is one that emphasizes strength and stability, but at the expense of a full range of motion at the elbow. Additionally if the user is not wearing a prosthesis or a layer of clothing over their arm, the ballistic nylon also presented some comfort issues by rubbing against the skin during use. Again, that was totally to be expected, but at least the latter is nothing a neoprene sleeve or an athletic tube sock with the toe cut off can’t cure.
On the whole the overriding gist of the discussion was that the device is definitely effective, but in its current form as a weight training device it may be too bulky or too heavy to serve as a rehabilitation device. At that point the device switched over to a discussion of what materials can be used and what kinds of modifications could be made to create a lighter, more flexible version of the Cuff. We also discussed the difficulties that the students had donning and doffing the device (aka putting it on and taking it off), but I turned out they hadn’t figured out the trick I use that enables me to get it on and off in less than a minute. (Once I showed them, they picked it right up.) The analogy I used is that the device is something that does require a bit of learning curve, and that in many ways it’s like learning to use any new device with numerous functions. You have to stick with it for a few days or at most a couple weeks before you “get it down” and can use it without a second thought.
The first half of the second day was a presentation by Mathias, and his presentation ended up running for over an hour because there was so much good information in it that we all kept interrupting him and cutting in to discuss all the things he was posting on the screen. The chair of department, Dr. Mi-Sook Kim, also stopped by for a little while to check things out with her colleague Dal Moon. At this point the conversations were starting to move towards the substantive portion of the first-ever clinical test, which is going to be a User Satisfaction Survey. We’re going to set up at least six people (and possibly more) with a Carter Cuff and then have them track their use of the device over a period of 60 days. We’re going to give the test participants one overall information-gathering survey at the beginning, another short one after 30 days as a sort of progress report, and then they finish with a longer, more detailed survey at the conclusion of the 60 day test period. The students will be working with Dr. Mitchell to develop the questions that will be contained in each of the three surveys that they receive.
After lunch on Friday Dr. David Anderson, another professor in the Department of Kinesiology who has published over 50 peer-reviewed papers in his career (i.e. the dude is a heavyweight in the field), stopped in and led a discussion on the mechanics behind the survey in greater detail - ensuring we had clear ideas of the objectives of the study, and making sure the overall focus was not too wide and not too narrow. Dr. Anderson also discussed the paperwork that will need to be submitted to the SFSU’s Human Testing Protocol department. (Yes, it does make total sense that if you’re going to have people testing something, you have to kind of clear everything about it with the bosses first, doesn’t it?) The protocols also require that we make it clear up front to the test subjects what will be happening, what will not be happening, along with the ground rules, expectations and parameters of the study.
This first clinical is intended to be what’s called a “pilot project”, meaning that it’s meant to establish a basic foundation of information on which subsequent studies can be based. This looks to be the beginning of a very fruitful and satisfying partnership, and at this point it feels like the only limits on what we can do are people’s imaginations. And that is a great problem to have.
And here is where you, dear reader, come in. If you know someone who might be interested in taking part in this pilot project or any future projects, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org