Digital therapy to treat knee osteoarthritis, Italian team studies App

Bernetti, professor of physical and rehabilitation medicine at the University of Salento: “It is the new frontier of e-health, AI to manage in real time whether the patient follows the rehabilitation exercises well or not”

Treating knee osteoarthritis with the help of digital therapy, the new frontier of medicine that uses AI-guided softwarebased on scientific evidence obtained through rigorous clinical trials, with the aim of preventing or treating a disease. Andrea Bernettifull professor of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine of the MedTec degree course, a training course in Medicine and Surgery with a strong technological and bio-engineering vocation, of theUniversity of Salento (Lecce), coordinates a research project within the Projects of Significant National Interest (Prin) which aims to develop a digital therapy for the multimodal treatment of knee osteoarthritis.

“The development of this application, which among other things sees as partners the Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome, the ‘G. d’Annunzio’ University of Chieti-Pescara and the University of L’Aquila, – he explains to Adnkronos Bernetti – would represent the first type of digital therapy for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis in Italy and Europe. called ‘Sydidoa’ or ‘Symptomatic Digital Drugs for Osteoarthritis’, started at the end of 2023 and will last 24 months. The objective is to create a digital support for the clinician and the patient suffering from knee osteoarthritis, which allows them to reduce pain and improve function through synergy with conventional treatments”.

Practically, “the application works through a video recognition system of the movements performed by the patient (video motion track) while performing some exercises prescribed by the doctor. The patient performs the exercise shown by a video on the screen and, in real time, the device’s camera recognizes whether the patient is performing it well or not, warning him in case of error – underlines Bernetti – This system in rehabilitation can also be defined as ‘bio-feedback’, the difference is that it will all be managed by a specific App and whose effectiveness will have to be demonstrated by a clinical study. A real digital therapy.”

“L’arthrosis represents the main cause of disability in the Western world and the main cause of days lived with disability in the European population – recalls Bernetti who is also vice president of the Italian Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine – This trend is constantly growing also in consideration of aging of the population. The opportunities presented by digital technologies in medicine and healthcare are receiving incredible attention from both regulatory authorities and the clinical and scientific world.”

“Furthermore, the Covid-19 pandemic has enormously amplified and accelerated the use of these revolutionary technologies. From this point of view, for many pathologies – he adds – in particular chronic degenerative ones, advanced technological solutions are being sought for diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation. In particular, considering the world of e-health, one of the most interesting lines of development at the moment is represented by digital therapies.”