Spotlight: Dr. Kristin Baker, Principle Investigator for the BOOST Study

in March 2016 Newsletter, News Feed
March 9th, 2016

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Dr. Kristin Baker (right) with Associate Directer Saralynn Allaire staff the Arthritis Foundation Expo’s “Expert’s Corner”

ENACT’s spotlight for the March 2016 Newsletter features Dr. Kristin Baker, Principal Investigator for ENACT’s BOOST study. Dr. Baker’s background is in exercise physiology and nutritional science and her primary research interest lies in improving functional quality of life for people living with arthritis.

In her current position as a Research Assistant Professor in the Physical Therapy Department of Boston University’s Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Dr. Baker is leading ENACT’s BOOST trial, a five-year project investigating how best to support people with arthritis to adhere to physical activity using existing technologies and behavioral science theory.

In the BOOST study, ENACT recruited 104 people with knee osteoarthritis to participate in a group strength-training program with 3 primary focuses: body alignment and mechanics, achieving the proper exercise intensity to improve muscle strength, and learning to progress through the exercises for continued improvement in muscle strength over time. After the group strength training program, participants were randomized to receive one of 2 follow-up interventions, a non-interactive automated message to remind participants to exercise or an automated interactive telephone system providing coaching and counseling information to promote continued exercise.

Though the benefits of physical activity to improve arthritis pain and function have been established and are widely accepted, adherence to exercise programs remains low among people with arthritis. According to Dr. Baker, if a telephone-based supportive technology proves to be effective for people with arthritis, it could be a cost-effective way to reach a wide range of people with rheumatic conditions, even potentially, “improving quality of life, and maybe prolonging the time before they need a knee replacement or reducing the number of doctor visits for medication.” In the long term, says Dr. Baker, it could have implications for the practice of physical rehabilitation by enabling patients to better adhere to therapeutic physical activity recommendations.

As technology continues to advance, the field of rehabilitation is recognizing and acting on the potential for technology to serve as a resource that may be modifiable for use in different populations, including those with rheumatic conditions.   Dr. Baker’s ultimate goal would be to widely disseminate the technology used in the BOOST study, thus adding another resource to the technology toolbox for rehabilitation practitioners and researchers.

Data collection for this study was completed in late 2015 and the efficacy of the interactive telephone system is now being assessed. In addition, research assistant and ENACT doctoral fellow Aileen Ledingham received an ancillary grant to assess participant satisfaction with the system. Look for results to be released in Spring 2016!

To read more from Dr. Baker on the use of technology in rehabilitation, access the ENACT Presentation page here

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