Stefanie Blain-Moraes

Assistant Professor of Physical and Occupational Therapy, McGill University

Dr. Blain-Moraes runs the Biosignal Interaction and Personhood Technology (BIAPT) lab at McGill. Her lab applies physiological signal processing techniques and assistive technology design principles to address the needs of non-communicative individuals and their care providers. The objectives of the BIAPT lab are:

1. To advance the understanding of the neurophysiological and physiological basis of human consciousness and interaction
2. To translate this understanding into technologies that improve the quality of life of non-communicative persons and their caregivers

Research areas:
connectedness
disability
embodiment
participation
quality of life
technology
Area of expertise:

1. Enhancing interaction with non-communicative individuals
Care providers can experience considerable distress and frustration when trying to interact with individuals who cannot produce vocal or other observable responses. These individuals may be non-communicative for a variety of reasons, ranging from acute traumatic injury to a congenital disability. Caregivers of these individuals can end up confining their interactions to custodial care, especially when their social interaction is unreciprocated for a long period of time. Such situations can lead to caregiver burnout and place the non-communicative individual at risk for neglect and/or family abandonment. The BIAPT lab develops novel technologies that provide visual and auditory manifestations of a non-communicative individual’s physiological responsiveness, with the goal of enhancing interaction between non-communicative individuals and their caregivers. We are currently focusing on biomusic, which translates meaningful changes in the autonomic nervous system into auditory output.

2. Assessing levels of consciousness and cognition in non-communicative individuals
Accurate assessment of non-communicative individuals is extremely challenging. Behavioural assessment remains the “gold standard”, yet using these techniques to assess levels of consciousness has resulted in a greater than 40% misdiagnosis rates

Experience

  • –present
    Assistant Professor of Physical and Occupational Therapy, McGill University