Charo Ortín is one of those exceptional women whose merits should be noted any day of the year, but more on March 8. She is CEO and co-founder of the Foren Method, an integral solution against immobility through Virtual Reality to achieve maximum recovery for those who stop walking and moving. The brain forgets to walk when it does not walk. And that unlearning Charo Ortín has been obsessed since he found, at age 19 in a volunteer in a shelter for female prisoners who enjoyed third grade, that “after four years in prison they had lost many of their faculties: they had problems of Hearing, taste and very few social skills. They had trouble understanding empathy and finishing the sequences. They turned on the tap, but they didn't turn it off, they turned on the light, but they didn't turn it off ... And it was all because you are done in jail, so their brains had forgotten it.
–Check that the brain unlearns made her change her career?
- Yes, because I needed to understand why I unlearned. That's why I went from education to a health career such as Occupational Therapy, then I specialized in neurological pathology and then I did a doctorate in motor neurocontrol, where I could learn that the movement of serious pathologies entails motor re-learning.
- What can make our brain unlearn?
–Neurological or traumatic injuries that involve a long period of immobility, such as a spinal cord injury or a stroke. And also a complex fracture such as a hip fracture in an elderly person. This unlearning can cause an atrophy to occur and that atrophy can lead to infections, dementia, incontinence, depression ... And precipitates towards a very serious deterioration that even reduces life expectancy. And it is something that with a month of intensive rehabilitation can be remedied!
- Does the Foren Method, which you created ten years ago, get the brain to relearn?
- And what exactly is it?
- What we look for with the Foren Method is to recover the movement. To walk again, to handle a superior limb and the hand… To achieve maximum autonomy again. And, to achieve this, we use on the one hand the pillars of intensity, repetition and motivation of sport, which we implant in neurology, and, on the other, neuroscience, to understand how the brain behaves through neuroimaging that they help us understand how the brain speaks with the muscles, or how the movement is learned and unlearned to walk with immobility, just as the dams unlearned to turn off the tap or turn off the light.
- Can you unlearn anything?
–Everything we don't use. There are certain pathologies whose main sign, unfortunately, is that: absolute oblivion. A final dementia is a cortical atrophy that makes you forget even about yourself, that you don't know who you are.
- And how they reeducate the brain of the patient, when it is still possible, to remember and recover the movement?
- Well, in addition to these sports techniques of intensity, repetition and motivation, we have discovered that virtual reality is a great tool to help people not forget movements and certain functions; so that we do not forget what it is like to walk and that we have two legs, not one, but two, right and left, and understand laterality; so that we are aware that the legs measure a meter ten centimeters ...
- Does all that forget if the brain is destroyed?
- Yes, because it is not used. With virtual reality, the patient will see another reality through glasses that are placed, after explaining that everything has a neurological basis, that the movement is unlearned and that the brain must be given a very strong motivation so that fight against your own biology by offering a stimulus that convinces you that those legs you don't use are still there and that they move at will. It is about using virtual reality to achieve an impact on the mechanisms of plasticity.
- It is a kind of deceit to the brain, no?
- Yes, because it is about making him go back to when we were babies and we learned, through mirror neurons by imitation, because we wanted to look like our parents. When putting on glasses, patients are simulated the movement of their legs and neurostimulation occurs.
- You notice the improvement of his patients and the Italian neurobiologist Giamoco Rizzolati, Prince of Asturias Award 2011, showed interest in his work. What is the next step to reach more people?
–Write articles based on scientific evidence with a sufficiently high sample. But resources are needed ...
- I hope they get them! Today is March 8, what message would a woman as vocational and willing as you give to a society that has not yet achieved equality completely?
- We have achieved the freedom to choose what to study or what work to perform and what family nucleus to establish without being judged or repudiated, but I believe that, although apparently things have changed, the true grounds, the authentic stereotype, have not yet been eliminated. . It is important, so that things go well, that the universal thought about equality is resounding, is the only one possible.
Personal and non-transferable
Charo Ortín was born in Madrid in 1982, is married and has three children. She feels proud "of my family." He regrets "not having done his best at certain times." Sorry, but "I don't forget." It makes him laugh "everything" and cry "everything. I can do it seven times a day ». "A huge book" would be taken to a desert island. His hobby is "biting my nails." His recurring dream is "talk." His vice "French fries." When he grew up he would like to "be wise" and if he were born again "it would be the same."