ArmTutor Complements Stroke Therapy

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Hema Vijay writing in THE HINDU on October 18, 2011 describes what Dr. Preeti Raghavan is involved in.
Dr. Raghavan is the beacon of hope for those who have movement dysfunction affecting their quality of life due to stroke.  She has studied  memory and movement within the field of neuroscience and this work has aided many to lead near normal lives.
Preeti Raghavan hslps teaches the brain of stroke patients how to make new connections in the brain that will allow the patients to once again move a finger, hand, leg or arm. Preeti Raghavan, MD, and the white matter behind the Motor Recovery Research Laboratory at the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine which is the premier rehabilitation hospital in New York State.
This is a form of reverse engineering the neural pathway of movements as “Even if a part of the brain has been affected by a stroke, the person can still relearn the limb movement — through an alternate pathway in the brain,”  Dr. Raghavan stated.
Dr. Raghavan explains that for a patient without brain injury, it is easy to calculate the amount of pressure or the extent of the turn we need to give our fingers to stir a cup of coffee, open a tap, shake hands, hold a toothbrush, or tie shoe laces. However these simple functions require complex planning, which we learn and store in our memories for reuse. This capacity has been lost by a patient after brain injury.
Dr. Raghavan contribution is that she realized that if a patient lift an object with the intact hand and then repeats the movement with the affected hand, the affected hand is able to learn to perform the movement better. This provided. This suggests that the brain has developed many redundant neural pathways for the same function using this technique to help the undamaged part of the brain take over this lost function.  Now, with Dr. Raghavan’s strategies, this young man is ‘learning’ to do it!
Dr. Steven Flanagan clinical professor and chairman, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine and medical director, Rusk Institute at NYU Langone Medical Center said that Dr. Raghavan’s lab is a great example of translating basic sciences into clinical practice and they are creating excitement in neuroscience advances.
In addition to Dr. Raghavan’s program the HandTutor and ArmTutor compliment the motor learning process required for functional hand and arm movement.
The ArmTutor™ and HandTutor system has been developed to allow for functional rehabilitation of the upper extremity including the shoulder, elbow and wrist. The system consists of an ergonomic wearable glove and arm brace together with dedicated rehabilitation software. The ArmTutor™ and HandTutor system allow the physical and occupational therapist to report on and evaluate the patients functional rehabilitation progress. This allows the OT and PT to prescribe the right customized and motivating intensive exercise practice which is the cornerstone to manual rehabilitation therapy. Intensive repetition of movement is achieved through  challenging games set to the patients movement ability. The system provides detailed exercise performance instructions and precise feedback on the patients exercise performance. Controlled exercise of multijoints within the normal movement pattern prevents the development of undesired and compensatory joint movement and ensures better performance of functional tasks.
The ArmTutor™ system is used by many leading rehabilitation centers worldwide and has full FDA and CE certification.

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