Tutor System Concentrates on Preventing Compensatory Movements for Stroke Patients

Dan Oberhaus writing for StatePress.com on December 5, 2011 reports about a team of graduate students and faculty from the School of Arts, Media and Engineering that have developed a new rehabilitation system for stroke survivors. The Mixed Reality Stroke Rehabilitation System utilizes both virtual and physical realities to help stroke victims relearn basic motor skills after suffering from a stroke.
Those undergoing therapy with the system would engage in “reach and grab” exercises to regain their sense of space following the stroke.
“The system is very important because it targets a population of people who are currently living with long-term disabilities,” bioengineering graduate student Margaret Duff said. “The system is attempting to improve their quality of life and their ability to move and function better and more independently.”
As a patient reaches toward an object, a screen in front of them analyzes their movement and guides their hand to the object via visual and auditory cues.
The auditory aspect of the system aids in correcting hand movement by playing a particular melody. When the individual’s hand moves too fast or too slow toward the object, the melody either speeds up or slows down accordingly, Lehrer said.
 Reach and grab gaming is looking at the end point in a functional task i.e. the hands have arrived at the target. This means that the patient can use elbow and shoulder randomly in order to reach the target. In other words it means that the patient can employ compensatory movement patterns and still reach this end point. However the Tutor devices teach correct and efficient patterns of wrist, elbow and shoulder movement.
 The HandTutor, ArmTutor and 3DTutor is the only system designed to prevent compensatory movements. This is achieved by training isolated shoulder (abduction/ adduction, flexion and extension and rotation movements) as well elbow flexion, extension,  supination, pronation for wrist and isolated finger movements to be able to receive a secondary feedback from other joints used in the functional movement. The Tutor system should be used in tandom with traditional OT task specific practice which is essential to give the pateint task specific feedback.
 The Tutor devices practice the inner and outer limits of a patients movement ability and  concentrate on a medium range required to do task specific practice.  The HandTutor and 3DTutor work on isolated and combinations of range, speed and accuracy of movement.
 The HandTutor and 3DTutor can be used even if the patient does not have the movement ability to do a reaching and grabbing task.
. The HandTutor and 3DTutor are currently being used in many large rehabilitation centres worldwide and have PUBMED evidence on its effectiveness. See http://www.HandTutor.com for more information.
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