Robot trainer to benefit stroke patients
23 April 2010
Although most stroke survivors learn to walk again up to a third fail to regain useful function of their arm.
Evidence suggests that increasing the amount of exercise appears to improve outcome. This seems to be especially the case in the arm, where repetitive practice of everyday tasks, such as holding a is one of the most effective approaches to recovery in arm- and hand function. Delivering this level of intensity of therapy is costly and difficult to achieve in clinical practice.
The Stroke Association has awarded Dr Diane Playford (Department of Brain Repair and Rehabilitation) and Dr Nick Ward (Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience & Movement Disorders),
with Dr Etienne Burdet at Imperial College, funding to explore the use
of a robotic device to aid arm recovery after stroke.
Robotic devices are one way of increasing the amount of practice that can be performed by people with a weak arm after stroke. The device under investigation at the IoN supports people with stroke to reach, grasp and turn, the type of movement used everyday by people as they open doors. Unlike many robotic devices this device is small and portable, which means that with further development it could be used at the bed-side or in people’s own homes.
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