New Stroke Therapy Some stroke patients can regain considerable function and strength in their 'bad' arm by doing repetitive tasks with it while restraining thier 'good' arm. This intensive therapy called CIMT or Constant Induced Movement Therapy, was developed by Dr. Edward Taub several years ago. It has been slow to be accepted as no long term studies were available to prove its benefits.
Robotic Therapy Helps Restore Hand Use After Stroke
According to a Universiy of California, Irvine study, a robotice device may help people regain strength and normal use of the affected hand long after a stroke.
Thirteen stoke victims participated in the pilot study by receiving 15 two-hour therapy sessions spread over a three week period. After therapy sessions using the Hand-Wrist Assisting Robotic Device (HOWARD), stroke patients with impaired hand use reported improved ability to grasp and release objects.
The robotic device wraps around the hand and directs patients through a computerized physical therapy program. HOWARD users must initiate hand motion, thereafter the robot helps complete the task so that the brain relearns what it's like to make the full movement. Robot-assisted therapy may help 'rewire' the brain and make weak limbs move better.
The UCI team members are now using what they learned from the HOWARD study to improve the therapy with more hand-robot connections and more software option to help individualize the therapy for different stroke related situations.