ArmTutor Used in Parkinson’s Disease Physical Rehabilitation

Published by the Hindawi  Corporation in their 2012 journal edition there is a result of a study about Upper Extremity Motor Learning among Individuals with Parkinson’s Disease written by
K. Felix, etal of the Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
It has been found that motor learning  occurs in the rehabilitation of individuals with Parkinson’s Disease (PD). With repetitive and  structured practice of motor tasks, PD patients show improved performance, confirming that motor learning has probably occurred. Despite a number of studies that have been completed evaluating motor learning in people with PD, the sample sizes were small and the improvements were varied. The purpose of this meta-analysis was to determine the ability of people with PD and how they learn motor tasks.
A total of 58 individuals with PD and 56 participants without PD were included from  seven studies.
The results of the meta-analysis suggest that motor learning in upper extremity function occurs in both neurologically healthy controls and individuals with PD through practice of upper extremity reaching tasks designed to reduce movement time. This effect is present immediately after the training period but also is sustained after a period of time.  The control participants have a mild to moderate increased effect based on their mean effect sizes compared to people with PD. However, the large overlap of confidence intervals would suggest that both groups benefit from the practice in which they participate.
Overall, these results are consistent with  work done previously in small studies that demonstrate skill acquisition and retention in people with PD in a number of motor tasks. Such studies have demonstrated acquisition and retention of motor skills in varied upper extremity tasks not included in this meta-analysis such as serial reaction time tasks  and other sequential aiming movements. Furthermore, motor learning studies in people with PD have demonstrated improvement in balance and lower extremity function through their practice.
Results from this pooling of data  provide evidence that upper extremity movement time can be improved by the use of practice of reaching tasks in persons with PD, albeit potentially to a lesser extent than is shown in individuals with no neurological problems. The  interpretation of this meta-analysis indicates that practice of relevant motor tasks targeted at maximizing acquisition and retention improved movement speed.
The ARMTUTOR system has been developed to allow for functional rehabilitation of the shoulder, elbow, wrist or upper extremity for PD and other patients suffering from upper extremity limb movement disabilities.. The system consists of an ergonomic wearable arm brace and dedicated physical rehabilitation software. The ARMTUTOR system allows for interactive rehabilitation exercise and  a range of biomechanical evaluations including speed, passive and active range of motion and motion analysis of the upper extremity. This quantitative data allows physical and occupational therapists (PT) (OT) to customize the right exercise parameters to the patient’s movement ability and report on the  exercises’ progress. The ARMTUTOR rehabilitation concept is based on performing controlled and repetitive exercise rehabilitation practice. It does this through the use of various games which are at a patient-customized level with real time accurate feedback on the patient’s performance.  The rehabilitation games are suitable for a wide variety of neurological and orthopedic injuries and diseases.
 The games challenge the patient to perform the exercise at a customized difficulty level. This level is set by the OT or PT and encourages the patient to do intensive repetitive exercise practice. The manual therapy with the ArmTutor is therefore repetitive and  structured practice of motor tasks that improves functional arm movement ability.
The ARMTUTOR allows for isolated and a combination of elbow and three directional shoulder treatments. The system provides detailed exercise performance instructions and precise feedback on the patient’s exercise performance. Overall, controlled exercise of multijoints within a normal movement pattern will prevent the patient developing an undesired or compensatory joint movement pattern and this will ensure better performance of functional tasks.
The ARMTUTOR and its sister devices (LEGTUTOR, HANDTUTOR, 3DTUTOR) are used wordwide in hospitals and clinics. They are certified by the FDA and CE and can be used at home through telerehabilitation See WWW.HANDTUTOR.COM for more information….
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