Patient mobility rehabilitation has traditionally been regarded as an art more than a science because we simply haven’t had the scientific data to provide bias to make concrete predictions on a patient’s recovery trajectory or to understand why a treatment works on one patient but not on another.
While we have had success borrowing scientific data from Western studies made since the 1980s, this did not help us with mobility issues specific to the Asia region. For example, while there was plenty of data around hip mobility, the most common joint degeneration in Asia is that of the knee, specifically knee osteoarthritis.
In order to do data driven research on human movement, we first needed to establish a normative baseline. We did this by initiating a systematic collection of human movement using a marker-based motion capture system. This is done with our first Ability Data protocol of 6 upper and 6 lower limb movement tasks derived from accepted movement assessment tasks. The initial target was to complete 500 normal subjects matching the demographic profile of Singaporeans across gender, ethnicity and age.
This normative group would provide the basis for objectively determining movement deficits arising from disease conditions like stroke, knee osteoarthritis and even amputation.
The use of big data techniques for such analysis means that the data collected from Singapore alone will be limited. We hope to expand the Ability Data initiative regionally in the future.
As at Sep 2023, Ability Data is already the world’s largest normative database of objective data on human movement.
The Data Collection Process
In June 2022, we met the initial data collection target of 500 healthy people, As at Sep 2023, we are now at 640 normal subjects. The data collection work will continue for us to collect minority race subjects to better match the Singapore demographic profile. We have also started to prepare for the inclusion of data from stroke, knee osteoarthritis and amputee patients.
|Upper Lim Task||Lower Limb Task|
|1. Folding Towel||7. Time Up and Go|
|2. Forward Reach-Grasp||8. Key Turning|
|3. Lateral Reach-Grasp||9. Balance Test|
|4. Hand to Mounth||10. Kerb Crossing|
|5. Hand on Head||11. Step Up and Down|
|6. Hand to Back||12. 10 Meter Walk|
Access to Ability Data is presently limited to research covered under formal research collaboration agreements signed with NTU. When data is requested to be shared with such a research partner, the requesting party receives only anonymised data.