The Polytechnic of Leiria develops a new approach in cardiac rehabilitation – Region of Leiria


The Polytechnic of Leiria announced on Friday 11, that it will develop a “unique approach” in Portugal in the prescription of cardiac rehabilitation programs, after obtaining funding from the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT).

The CiTechCare – Center for Innovation in Technologies and Healthcare of the Polytechnic of Leiria will create and test a new approach to prescribing in cardiac rehabilitation programs, based on the direct assessment of the autonomic nervous system, indicates that the higher education institution, in a press release note.

The research project “2ARTs – Accessing Autonomic Control in Cardiac RehabiliTaTion” has obtained funding of 230 thousand euros from the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), after being approved and ranked in the top ten among the 420 competitions in the field of clinical engineering of the Bioengineering and Biotechnology panel, École Polytechnique also reveals.

“Cardiac activity is conditioned by stimuli which, in part, depend on the autonomic nervous system. This technique (microneurography), which I trained at the University of Bologna, makes it possible to measure the impulses that the heart receives and which are sent by the nervous system, through recording on a peripheral nerve ”, explains the researcher. from ciTechCare, Rui Fonseca-Pinto.

The director of the Escola Superior de Saúde also added that “microneurography will allow access to these ‘commands of autonomous origin’ and to record these ‘commands’ that the autonomic nervous system sends to the heart.”

According to the Polytechnic of Leiria, Portugal, microneurography is not used in clinical practice, but is currently only used in basic research with animal models.

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In countries like Italy, Sweden and Japan, this technique is a resource for the diagnosis of dysautonomias (diseases of the autonomic nervous system) and for research in humans.

The “2ARTs” project was born out of Rui Fonseca-Pinto’s doctoral thesis, whose central theme was the study of signs of the autonomic nervous system.

“In recent years, I have developed research on this subject, mainly through indirect recordings. Now there are conditions to have a laboratory to study diseases of the autonomic nervous system at ciTechCare, ”said the researcher.

The approved funding provides for the acquisition of equipment and adaptation of the facilities on campus 5, which allows this laboratory for the study of disautonomy “to be a reality in the medium term in Leiria”.

Besides Rui Fonseca-Pinto, as principal investigator and coordinator, the development of the project is also based on the “experience and reputation” of the director of the cardiology service and coordinator of the Centro Hospitalar de Leiria (CHL) research center and responsible co-researcher. ciTechCare.

The team is also made up of cardiologist Alexandre Antunes and researchers and professors from the Polytechnic of Leiria Maria Guarino, Joana Cruz, Ricardo Martinho and Rui Rijo.
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