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New professor: Ruud Selles

As of June 1, 2021, Prof.dr. Ruud Selles has been appointed professor with a shared appointment in the departments of Rehabilitation Medicine and Plastic Surgery. He will investigate the best treatments for hand and wrist disorders using a huge database with patient data and treatment outcomes. Ruud: ‘It’s really strange that this approach is new, it’s so obvious’.

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Ruud Selles is on a mission. ‘My ambition is to find better ways of treating hand and wrist disorders by using innovative research approaches. There is much need for this. Most people who have survived a stroke have problems with their arm and hand function. Moreover, musculoskeletal hand and wrist disorders are common,’ Ruud says.

Not optimal

And yet, there are few evidence-based treatments for many of these conditions. Ruud: ‘And we don’t know how individual patient characteristics determine the results of a treatment. This often leads to overtreatment or undertreatment. So it’s not optimal, both for the patient and for the increasingly expensive health care system.

Predicting outcomes

There is a real need for a breakthrough. Ruud: ‘Over the years, I have developed a fundamentally different approach to studying the effectiveness of these treatments by collecting data from observations in the clinic and analyzing it with new statistical and data science techniques. This type of research offers interesting possibilities for comparing treatment effects and developing models that allow us to predict treatment outcomes.’

Databases

Instead of so-called investigator-initiated studies, where a researcher goes to see what effects a particular treatment has, Ruud focused on collecting patient data and outcomes of treatments. To do that, Ruud developed tools to collect data unambiguously to properly compare the effects of treatments and study so-called predictive markers in practice. The patient data and treatment outcomes have been merged into huge databases and come from Erasmus MC, Rijndam Revalidatie (a rehabilitation clinic) and Xpert Clinic (specialized in hand surgery and hand therapy).

Ruud is expected to give his inaugural lecture October 2022.