COPD Research Innovation

Breaking new ground in COPD research

Dr. Tania Janaudis-Ferreira and Research Co-ordinator Julia Romano
Dr. Tania Janaudis-Ferreira (r) and Research Co-ordinator Julia Romano are working to improve upper extremity training for people with COPD.
September 2013

(Toronto) - A key element in West Park’s future in research is the funding, recruitment and retention of capable, talented researchers.

The Centre has made a pivotal step in the right direction with the addition of a new scientist focusing on pulmonary rehabilitation research.

But Dr. Tania Janaudis-Ferreira is not new to West Park. She has been here since 2007 as a visiting graduate student, post doctorate student and since October, a research scientist. This follows degrees from universities in Brazil (her home country) and Sweden and time working at a pulmonary rehabilitation clinic in Brazil.

All throughout she was very aware of West Park and its reputation in respiratory rehabilitation.
Dr. Janaudis-Ferreira has authored/co-authored many studies while at West Park and is now focusing on an overlooked area in respiratory rehabilitation - upper extremity rehabilitation.

“After people with lung disease complete their rehabilitation, they can still find themselves short of breath in some situations,” Dr. Janaudis-Ferreira says. “This may happen because upper extremity training is not as standardized as lower extremity training.”

Arm activity study

To provide best practices for arm training during rehabilitation for people with COPD, Dr. Janaudis-Ferreira is currently finishing an important study focussed on arm activity during daily life in people with COPD.
The object of the study is to answer if arm activity of people with lung disease in daily life differs from healthy elderly people.

The study is unique because it will be the first to measure arm activity during daily life and examine the relationships between this measurement with breathlessness during daily life, severity of the disease, arm exercise capacity and muscle strength.

“The results from this study will provide further evidence that upper extremity training is important,” Dr. Janaudis-Ferreira says.

Dr. Janaudis-Ferreira says that her West Park colleagues, the West Park Foundation (which funds her position) and external funding partners for the studies she is heading have been very supportive of her work.

“West Park has a great environment,” Dr. Janaudis-Ferreira says. “I have learned a lot. Now as a scientist I can be independent but at the same time colleagues like Dr. (Roger) Goldstein and Dr. (Dina) Brooks always make themselves available to give feedback on my research protocols and discuss the results of the studies.”

That environment combined with Janaudis-Ferreira’s expertise and hard work in these and other studies will undoubtedly have a profound effect on the rehabilitation that people with lung diseases receive, both here and at other healthcare facilities.

It is this type of innovation that will enhance the lives of patients and give them the independence to resume their lives as they wish.