The Unifesp laboratory rehabilitates patients with sequelae of COVID-19

The Pulmonary and Exercise Immunology Laboratory, located at the Institute of Science and Technology of the Federal University of São Paulo (ICT-Unifesp), seeks to identify the side effects of patients who have had COVID-19 or who have other lung diseases in order to speed up their recovery.

The laboratory was created in October 2020 and benefits from the support of FAPESP and the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq).

The main objective is to develop clinical and experimental research focused on the cellular and molecular immunological aspects involved in both the pathophysiology of lung diseases and physical exercise and their interaction in the prevention and treatment of these diseases.

The group carries out rehabilitation projects for patients with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or who have had COVID-19. It also assists elderly people with metabolic syndrome and offers laser and LED rehabilitation. “In the case of post-COVID patients, the main sequelae are muscle weakness, decreased muscle mass, depression, post-traumatic stress, sleep disturbances, headaches, fatigue and chronic fatigue. “, explains Maysa Alves Rodrigues Brandão Rangel.

Rangel is a doctoral student in rehabilitation and human movement sciences at Unifep, a member of the laboratory team and a FAPESP scholarship holder.

Science initiation students in the fields of physical education and physiotherapy, master’s and doctoral students from the postdoctoral program in human movement and rehabilitation sciences and bioengineering participate in the laboratory.

The target audience of the service includes adult and elderly patients with various lung pathologies. More than 420 patients have already been treated in the laboratory, and approximately 1,800 people have already received itinerant care, at their place of residence, in partnership with the Casas do Idoso in São José dos Campos and with the Movimento Vida project in the neighborhood of Campo .of the Germans.

“Patients undergo careful assessment, performing tests such as bioimpedance, spirometry and electrocardiogram. They answer questionnaires on their state of health and samples of blood and pulmonary condensed air are also taken. Thereafter, patients are encouraged to participate in a 12-week rehabilitation program with one-hour sessions three times a week. According to the protocol, they are reassessed after 30, 60 or 90 days,” explains the doctoral student at Unifep. During rehabilitation sessions, patients perform aerobic and resistance physical exercises, in addition to systematic medical evaluations.

At first, the researchers thought a 12-week program would be ideal, but as the visits progressed, the length was shortened. “We found that patients with 45 days of aerobic activity and resistance exercise program improved significantly and eventually dropped out of treatment because they already felt rehabilitated. We are still studying these mechanisms to possibly readjust the protocol for 45 days,” explains Rangel.

The service is offered free of charge to the public. To participate in the rehabilitation program, those interested should contact us by Whatsapp, at (12) 99129-0307.

*With information from the Unifep Communications Office.

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