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Robotic Therapy Helps Stroke Patients Regain Function


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robotic therapy

The arm of a patient in robotic therapy is guided by a joystick as he tries to move the handle toward a moving or stationary target shown on the computer monitor. If the person starts moving in the wrong direction, the robotic arm gently nudges his arm in the right direction.

Credit: Department of Veterans Affairs

Stroke patients who received robot-assisted therapy were able to regain some ability to use their arms, even if the stroke had occurred years earlier, according to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

The study found that in chronic stroke survivors, robot-assisted therapy led to modest improvements in upper-body motor function and quality of life six months after active therapy was completed; these improvements were significant when compared with a group of stroke patients who received the traditional treatment. Moreover, the robotic therapy—which involves a more intense regimen of activity than traditional stroke therapy—did not increase total health-care costs per stroke patient, and could make intensive therapy available to more people, say the researchers who led the study.

From MIT News
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