Friday, December 19, 2008
Medical Reports: Robotic Arm
Imagine not being able to move your arms. Many stroke victims know that helpless feeling. But now, people who had lost hope of regaining use of their arms are making progress with a new robotic arm brace. Seven's Christine Cruz has more in tonight's Healthcast.
WSVN -- A few years ago, Louesa Foster was a busy kindergarten teacher juggling a career and a growing family. But two years ago, a stroke changed everything.
Louesa Foster, Stroke Patient: "I sit down and everything was OK, and after a minute, not OK."
She now struggles to speak and can barely move anything on her right side. After other therapy programs failed, Louesa enrolled in a study for a robotic arm brace.
Dr. Stephen Page, Drake Rehab Center, University of Cincinnati: "When a patient tries to move the arm, a signal is generated in the muscle. The brace that the patient is wearing picks up this signal, and the robot that's embedded in that brace helps the patient move the arm in the way that they want to move it."
After a few weeks with the brace, Louesa made progress. She's now able to make simple movements like grabbing a ball. The goal is to retrain her brain to work with her arm.
Dr. Stephen Page: "We don't want the patients to become dependent on the brace and use the brace for the rest of their lives."
It's a slow process that takes a lot of practice, but Louesa believes it's worth the hard work to reclaim her life. Right now, the brace is only being used in physical therapy sessions.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Neuromotor Recovery & Rehabilitation Laboratory