The Tutor System Allows for Intensive Rehabilitation Programmes and Earlier Functional Gains

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Lynne Turner-Stokes etal writing for The Cochrane Collaboration and published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., discusses a research topic about Multi-disciplinary (MD) rehabilitation for the stroke population.

 Background 
Evidence from systematic reviews demonstrates that multi-disciplinary rehabilitation is effective in the stroke population where older adults predominate. However, the evidence base for the effectiveness of rehabilitation following acquired brain injury (ABI) in younger adults is not yet established, perhaps because there are different methodological challenges.
Objectives
To assess the effects of multi-disciplinary rehabilitation following ABI in adults aged 16 to 65 years. To explore approaches that are effective in different settings and the outcomes that are affected.
 Search Strategy
 We searched CENTRAL (The Cochrane Library 2008, Issue 2), MEDLINE (Ovid SP), EMBASE (Ovid SP), ISI Web of Science: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), ISI Web of Science: Conference Proceedings Citation Index-Science (CPCI-S), and Internet-based trials registers: ClinicalTrials.gov, Current Controlled Trials, and RehabTrials.org. We also checked reference lists of relevant papers and contacted study authors in an effort to identify published, unpublished, and ongoing trials. Searches were last updated in April 2008., Selection criteria, Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing multi-disciplinary rehabilitation with either routinely available local services or lower levels of intervention; or trials comparing an intervention in different settings or at different levels of intensity. Quasi-randomised and quasi-experimental designs were also included provided that they met pre-defined methodological criteria., Data collection and analysis, Two authors independently selected trials and rated their methodological quality. A third review author arbitrated when disagreements could not be resolved by discussion. We performed a ‘best evidence’ synthesis by attributing levels of evidence based on methodological quality. We subdivided trials in terms of severity of brain injury, the setting, and type of rehabilitation offered.
Main Results.
We identified 11 trials of good methodological quality and five of lower quality. Within the subgroup of predominantly mild brain injury, ‘strong evidence’ suggested that most patients made a good recovery with provision of appropriate information, without additional specific intervention. For moderate to severe injury, there was strong evidence of benefit from formal intervention. For patients with moderate to severe ABI already in rehabilitation, there was strong evidence that more intensive programmes are associated with earlier functional gains, and moderate evidence that continued outpatient therapy could help to sustain gains made in early post-acute rehabilitation. There was limited evidence that specialist in-patient rehabilitation and specialist multi-disciplinary community rehabilitation may provide additional functional gains, but the studies serve to highlight the particular practical and ethical restraints on randomisation of severely affected individuals for whom there are no realistic alternatives to specialist intervention.
 Authors’ Conclusions.
Problems following ABI vary. Consequently, different interventions and combinations of interventions are required to suit the needs of patients with different problems. Patients presenting acutely to hospital with moderate to severe brain injury should be routinely followed up to assess their needs for rehabilitation. Intensive intervention appears to lead to earlier gains. The balance between intensity and cost-effectiveness has yet to be determined. Patients discharged from in-patient rehabilitation should have access to out-patient or community-based services appropriate to their needs. Those with milder brain injury benefit from follow up and appropriate information and advice. Not all questions in rehabilitation can be addressed by randomised controlled trials or other experimental approaches. Some questions include which treatments work best for which patients over the long term, and which models of service represent value for money in the context of life-long care. In future, such questions will need to be set alongside practice-based evidence gathered from large systematic, longitudinal cohort studies conducted in the context of routine clinical practice.
 Plain Language Summary.
Multi-disciplinary rehabilitation for brain injury in working-age adults studies show that it is beneficial to patients with brain damage from stroke. Some MD programs are also targeted to working-age adults who have brain injuries through trauma or other causes. These patients are younger than most stroke patients and may have different goals, such as returning to work or parenting. Brain-injured people can have a variety of difficulties, including problems with physical functions, communication, thought processes, behavior, or emotions. The severity of the problems can vary from mild to severe. MD rehabilitation addresses one or more of the above areas instead of focusing on a single aspect such as physical (motor) function., The authors of this Cochrane review looked for evidence on the effectiveness of MD rehabilitation in adults, aged 16 to 65 years, with acquired brain injury (ABI) from any cause. They looked for controlled trials in which one group of people received a treatment (such as MD rehabilitation) and was compared with a similar group that received a different treatment. They found 16 studies. As a whole, the studies suggested that patients with moderate to severe brain injury who received more intensive rehabilitation had earlier improvements. For mild brain injury, information and advice was usually more appropriate than intensive rehabilitation. There was not much evidence related to other aspects of MD rehabilitation, so the review authors recommend that more research be done. Rehabilitation for brain injury is such an individualised and long-term process that it can be difficult to draw general conclusions from research studies.
 The Tutor System
 Aiding stroke rehabilitation with the newly developed state of the art Tutor system has been accepted by leading U.S. and foreign hospitals and clinics. The  HandTutor,  ArmTutor, LegTutor and 3DTutor have become a key system in neuromuscular rehabilitation and physical therapy and give a positive approach to life. These interactive and innovative devices implement an impairment based program with augmented feedback and encourage motor learning through intensive active exercises. These exercises increase confidence and feeling of achievement through challenging and motivating games.  The Tutors allow for repetitive training tailored to the patient’s performance. The system also includes objective quantitative evaluations that provide the therapist information to customize the most suitable rehabilitation program to the patient’s ability. The Tutors are also used  at home through the use of telerehabilitation. See http://www.handtutor.com 
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