Voluntary Exercises Better Than External Stimuli for Physical Rehabilitation

In the Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation, July 2012 edition, Dr.Kyung-Lim Joa of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Pusan National University School of Medicine, Busan, South Korea published the results of a study in which rehabilitation was evaluated by using voluntary movements as well as Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES).

Nineteen healthy male subjects were enrolled in the study. The study design included: a-voluntary contraction only, b-functional electrical stimulation (FES)-induced wrist extension only, and  c-simultaneous voluntary and FES-induced  movement. Brain activation was observed in all three modes.

The activated brain regions (number of voxels) of the MI, SI, cerebellum, and SMA were LARGEST DURING VOLUNTARY CONTRACTION ALONE and smallest during FES alone. SII-activated brain regions were largest during voluntary contraction combined with FES and smallest during FES contraction alone. The brain activation extent (maximum t score) of the MI, SI, and SII  was LARGEST DURING VOLUNTARY CONTRACTION ALONE and smallest during FES alone.

The conclusions drawn were that voluntary contraction combined with FES may be more effective for brain activation than  FES-only movements for rehabilitation therapy. In addition, voluntary effort is the most   important factor in the therapeutic process.

As it is this is another proof that the patient recovering from and undergoing rehabilitation for affected limbs due to Parkinson’s, CP, MS, stroke, brain or spinal injuries amongst other diseases and surgeries should be using physical therapy solutions that encourage the patient to use his own strength and efforts while exercising more than outside stimuli via robots or electrical impulses. Such physical therapy products can be found in the TUTOR system.

The HANDTUTOR, ARMTUTOR, LEGTUTOR and 3DTUTOR have been designed for just that type of intensive exercise. Consisting of comforatble and ergonomically designed gloves or braces, The TUTORs improve fine motor, sensory and cognitive impairments through intensive exercises with augmented feedback. The exercises are challenging and motivating and allow for repetitive training tailored to the patient’s own performance. In the case of the HANDTUTOR, for example, the glove has been designed to detect finger and wrist motion and has an open palmar surface to give maximum motor and sensory input. The glove comes in different sizes to allow evaluation and treatment of patients from age 5 and up.

One of the most cost effective rehabilitation devices currently in use in leading U.S. and European hospitals the TUTORs are fully certified by the FDA and CE. They can also be used in the patient’s home via telerehabilitaion. See WWW.MEDITOUCH.CO.IL for more information.

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