According to foreign media, the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith (UAFS) has partnered with Methodist Village Senior Living to provide 3D printed entertainment products for Alzheimer’s patients.
Methodist Village is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of the elderly in the Arkansas River Basin. The organization’s CEO, Melissa Curry, worked with teachers in the 3D printing laboratory of the UAFS School of Applied Science and Technology to develop items that can stimulate residents’ cognitive functions. Dr. Terisa Riley, President of UAFS, is pleased with the 3D printing work that the university has helped residents do:
“The staff have done a lot of work among the residents of the Alzheimer Center, and I am very happy to witness our university’s contribution to provide them with quality services and help their residents fully enjoy their lives.”
The Methodist Village provides various levels of affordable housing for the elderly, including 96 retirement apartments and 145 long-term nursing home beds. The purpose is to provide special care to meet the needs and expectations of residents. It also houses an Alzheimer’s Disease Center, which includes various experience centers for painting, gardening, fishing, and cooking. Curry explained: “When planning our Alzheimer’s special care community, we know that having the right sensory stimulation is important.”
In order to cater to these residents, Curry sought to establish a partnership with UAFS. Contact Dr. Ken Warden, Dean of the UAFS School of Applied Science and Technology, and ask if the university can help produce several sets of 3D printed nuts and bolts, reminiscent of jobs that residents may recall from their youth. In response, Warden worked with Max Johnston, assistant professor of computer graphics technology at UAFS, to design 20 sets of large lightweight nuts and bolts. Each is 3D printed with soft plastic and designed with visually exciting colors.
Warden said: “The highlight of this 3D printing project is to educate our students while addressing the needs of the community. These projects provide our students with a background for their learning, and they use’real world’ applications to verify our students’ programming and participate.”
3D printing to treat Alzheimer’s disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Approximately 5.7 million Americans suffer from this disease, and it is estimated that this number will reach 14 million by 2050.
In addition to helping people with Alzheimer’s disease on a daily basis, 3D printing is also considered to be the key to understanding the condition and various other brain diseases.
A technical review written by a team at the University of Manchester in the UK shows that 3D bioprinting is an important tool for researchers to discover the causes of Alzheimer’s disease and stroke.
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