Friday, July 6, 2007
Medical Reports: Stroke Survivors
Everyone knows a stroke takes a big toll on a person, both physically and mentally. About half of all stroke patients will experience some type of paralysis. But, in tonight's Healthcast, Seven's Christine Cruz shows us how a new device is reshaping the road to recovery for stroke survivors.
WSVN -- It was a day Maggie Fermental would rather forget.
Maggie Fermental: "The room was spinning really, really fast and then stuff just stopped working, first my arm, then my leg, then my speech."
At age 32, she suffered a stroke.
Dr. Joel Stein of Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital: "What happens in a stroke is an area of brain tissue is damaged and brain cells die."
After standard therapy, Maggie only regained 25 percent of the function in her arm. Then she heard about a new motorized elbow brace that uses sensors to detect electrical impulses in muscles.
Nurse: "So here we have the sensor."
The sensors determine the patient's intended movement. Then the brace helps move the arm accordingly. This helps the weakened muscles get stronger and remember how to move.
Dr. Joel Stein: "Through repeated practice, the brain is able to improve its ability to control that activity. To some extent, the brain rewires itself."
Maggie Fermental: "Before I used the robotic arm, I could never open this."
Three years after her stroke, Maggie has not only regained confidence but now has 75 percent of her arm motion back, a gift she says no money could buy.
Maggie Fermental: "This has given me back a lot of confidence and ability to move around in the world and kind of do things more for myself."
Christine Cruz: "A study found that people who underwent 18 hours of training with the device over a period of nine weeks improved their arm movement by 23 percent. Another plus side, the device should be available to all stroke patients as early as this fall."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Network