Spectrum News: Study looks at art therapy, pet robots' effect on well-being

Patient, multidisciplinary UC researchers collaborate on pilot study

University of Cincinnati researchers from across disciplines are collaborating on a pilot study researching how a self-guided art therapy app and robotic pets affect the mood of patients.

The study is led by Soma Sengupta, MD, associate professor in neurology and the Harold C. Schott Endowed Chair of Molecular Therapeutics (Neurosurgery); Claudia Rebola, PhD, associate dean for research, associate professor and director of the new Center for DAAP Research and Innovation (CDRI) on Health and Wellbeing in the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning; and Meera Rastogi, a psychologist, art therapist and program coordinator for the pre-art therapy certificate program.

The research specifically targets patients with vestibular schwannoma, or acoustic neuromas, which are benign tumors on nerves leading from the inner ear to the brain. Sengupta said these patients often experience some form of hearing loss.

Sankhya Jejurikar, a vestibular schwannoma patient who experiences single-sided deafness and professional artist, worked with the researchers to make sure the study was fine-tuned to someone with her diagnosis.

Watch the Spectrum News story.

Read more on the study.

Featured photo at top: Sankhya Jejurikar discusses the study with UC researchers. Photo/Ravenna Rutledge/University of Cincinnati