Monday, July 27, 2009

We can make him better. Stronger. And with increased elbow extension.

The problem with the whole "neuroplasticity is the bees knees" perspective on stroke recovery is that there is a feeling that bad practice will lead to bad movement. That bad movement, so the thinking goes, will lead to bad neuroplastic rewiring. But to pay a therapist to keep the survivor "moving correctly" is prohibitive. It takes too much therapist time, too much money and is unproven. Enter robotics.

The idea is to get a machine that makes the job easier and the treatment more effective. You still need a therapist there...for now. But the end game in most of these technologies is: "Go home with it, do a lot of hard work. Come back and I'll get all the credit."

Here is my colleague, Valerie Hill Hermann, demonstrating new robotic technology, the MYOMO, with a stroke survivor. Val has a new American Heart Association grant to study the device.

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