Tutor System – ArmTutor LegTutor Uses Intensive Exercise in Parkinson’s Therapy Treatment

Published in KENTPATCH. Dateline February 18, 2012
Dr. Angela Ridgel, an assistant professor of exercise science/physiology, at Kent State University is spearheading two projects that involve exercise therapy which is exactly what the TUTOR system is based on.
The  projects  help individuals with Parkinson’s disease improve their cognitive and motor functions through exercise therapy that can delay the progression of Parkinson’s and lower the Parkinson’s medications dosages..
” I believe, and my research is proving, that we can use exercise therapy to promote improvements in the way the nervous system works and improve the lives of these individuals,”  said Dr. Ridgel.
The first research study is called “The Parkinson’s Disease Cognitive Intervention”.
With support from Kent State’s Dr. John Gunstad, associate professor of psychology, and Dr. Ellen Glickman, professor of exercise physiology, Ridgel is currently studying the impact of upper and lower extremity exercise on cognition and motor function in addition to cerebral blood flowand cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength in individuals with Parkinson’s disease.The goal is to add additional exercise therapy to previous methods.
Dr. Ridgel’s findings have shown  improvements in cognitive function, mobility and oxygen saturation in the brain following comprehensive exercise intervention.
Other extensive psychological evaluations measuring memory, attention, problem-solving and language may lead to additional methods for Parkinson’s rehabilitation,according to Dr. Gunstad.
Ridgel will present the results of the study in May at the American College of Sports Medicine conference .
The second research study involves a “smart bike” that would allow the therapists to create a database of symptoms and responses. The database could then design a cycling program tailored to an individual’s unique challenges and capabilities.
Beginning in June, Ridgel will use the “smart bike” to assess the  individual’s effort, performance, skill level and therapeutic value. The  goal is to devise a computer-driven system that alters resistance, speed and time to benefit the individual.  The ”bike” will produce a customized exercise program to benefit individuals with Parkinson’s.
 The HANDTUTOR, ARMTUTOR, LEGTUTOR and 3DTUTOR are all devised to implement an intensive and customized exercise  program.
 They have become a key system in neuromuscular rehabilitation for stroke victims and those recovering from brain and spinal injuries, Parkinson’s, MS, CP and other limb movement limitations. These innovative devices implement an impairment based program with augmented motion feedback that encourages motor learning through intensive active exercises and movement practice.
The HANDTUTOR, ARMTUTOR, LEGTUTOR and 3DTUTOR consist of wearable glove and braces that detect limb movement showing the patient how much active or assisted active movement they are actually doing. The rehabilitation software uses special rehabilitation games to set a new target for this movement in terms of the patient’s ability to move their limb. The devices then measure the limb movement and give feedback on the success of the patient in trying to gain this new movement objective. In this  way the patient is given movement feedback that allows him to understand which effort is more successful and gets him to move his affected limb again. In this  way the TUTOR system provides exercises that are challenging and motivating and allow for repetitive and intensive exercise practice. The HANDTUTOR, ARMTUTOR, LEGTUTOR and 3DTUTOR are now part of the rehabilitation program of leading U.S. German, Italian, French, UK and other foreign hospitals. See WWW.HANDTUTOR.COM for more information.
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