Health & Medical Cardiovascular Health

Robot Helps Stroke Survivors Relearn Movement

´╗┐Robot Helps Stroke Survivors Relearn Movement

Robot Helps Stroke Survivors Relearn Movement



Feb. 12, 2002 -- A 30-inch robot is teaching stroke patients how to move again.

The tabletop device is the brainchild of researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Cornell University. It's nicknamed MIT-Manus. A commercial version will be called InMotion2.

What the robot doesn't do is physically help a person to move. Instead, it teaches stroke survivors' brains how to work again.

The concept is to guide a patient's hand and arm through the same motion, over and over and over again. Eventually, the brain begins to rebuild the nerve pathways needed for normal movement.

"This [brain] reorganization appears to continue even years after the initial injury," said MIT researcher Susan Fasoli, ScD, in a presentation to the American Stroke Association's 27th International Stroke Conference.

While the robot now is used in a hospital setting, it might one day be possible for a person to use it at home.

Fasoli and co-workers tested the robot on 13 stroke patients who'd had a stroke in the last one to five years. All of the patients had lost the ability to move one arm. They underwent six weeks of robot-assisted physical therapy, three times per week.

At the end of the treatment period, all of the patients had improved movement in their bad arms. However, they had not yet improved to the point of being able to perform hand and wrist movements.

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