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.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

An appreciated review

Most of my work in research has been on the arm and hand of stroke survivors. It is a joke among therapist; occupational therapist only deal with the upper extremity, and physical therapist only deal with the lower extremity. Of course this is a generalization that's not entirely accurate. Still, I have a special affinity for occupational therapists and their work. It was a pleasant surprise to have a review from ADVANCE for Occupational Therapy Practitioners do a review of Stronger After Stroke. 

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