Thursday, March 22, 2007

new stroke treatment technique

Ah, finally some GOOD news for a change.   Clever lads and lassies at MIT have come up with a robotic assist for stroke patients.

The wearable, portable, lightweight robotic brace slides onto the arm. By sensing the patient's electrical muscle activity through electromyography (EMG)--which detects muscle cells' electrical activity when they contract--and sending that data to a motor, it allows stroke patients to control their affected limbs.

When used under the supervision of an occupational or physical therapist, the device can be used to help patients progress from basic motor training, such as lifting boxes or reaching for a light switch, to more complex tasks such as carrying a laundry basket or flipping a light on and off while holding an object with the unaffected limb.

According to the study researchers--Dr. Joel Stein, Kathryn Krebs and Richard Hughes of Harvard Medical School and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and MIT graduates Kailas Narendran and John McBean--even people who have experienced a stroke years ago may be able to use the device to regain mobility.

In my experience, and more importantly according to previous studies of NDT assisted movement techniques, this should work really, really well.  The problem with NDT and all the other manual therapies for stroke is not that they don't work.  The problem is expense.  You need a highly trained therapist doing the treatment, whose time is worth about $100 bucks an hour.  This device can continue the treatment when the therapist is not there, at a huge cost reduction to the patient.

Friggin awesome.  I want one!

The Phantom

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