Regaining Strength After Stroke
Reported May 2011
WASHINGTON (Ivanhoe Newswire) --Each year, more than 795,000 Americans suffer a stroke. A severe stroke can rob a person of their ability to speak, and move. Recovery is a challenge for most, but there’s a new device that can help stroke survivors recover faster and better.
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“I do it cause I want to do it to get the results,” Helene Roehm, stroke survivor told Ivanhoe.
It happened over 40-years ago, but Helene Roehm still feels the effect of a sudden stroke.
“I woke up a day and a half later in the hospital with the left half of my body doing nothing,” Roehm explained.
She’s regained most movement, but still has a hard time moving her left arm and hand. Now kinesiologists and neuromotor control specialists have developed a new device to help stroke survivors improve function.
“We came up with the thought of doing something that involves two arms. We really wanted to simulate a reaching ability, since that is what a lot of patients struggle with,” Sandy McCombe Waller, Ph.D., Neuro motor control specialist at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, told Ivanhoe.
It’s called the Tailwind. It’s helping patients recover arm movement - even many years after a stroke.
“They’ll see improvement in simple things like range of motion, they may see an improvement of strength,” Jill Whitall, Ph.D., Kinesiologist at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, told Ivanhoe.
Traditional recovery methods tend to avoid use of the weak arm. The new device works both arms.
“But this, the two arms really work independent of each other, so we’re really tapping into the brain’s control of the arms,” Dr. McCombe Waller said.
A patient moves two handles along resistance-free tracks to a rhythmic sound to help keep a constant pace. Researchers believe the device helps activate the motor cortex, the part of the brain responsible for movement. Repeated use helps move the weak arm farther and farther out along the track and regain strength and movement.
“We believe the number one benefit is it gets them using their weak arm,” Dr. McCombe Waller added.
Patients use the device for twenty minutes a day for at least six weeks to see results. Another benefit of the device is that any stroke patient can use it -- whether they had a stroke six months or six years ago. Helene is recovering the movement she thought was gone for good.
“I am slowly getting mobility back because I am using it,” Helene Roehm concluded.
It’s a slow but steady progress with moving results. Tailwind does not require a prescription or doctor’s referral. Patients can order tailwind directly from encore path by writing an email to info at www.encorepath.com.
The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.
Click here to Go Inside This Science or contact:
Karen A. Robinson
Senior Media Relations Specialist
University of Maryland School of Medicine
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