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Robotic therapy helps 'immobilized' stroke survivors walk again

Washington, Fri, 16 Dec 2011 ANI

Washington, Dec 16 (ANI): A new study has found that severely impaired stroke survivors could walk better when a robotic assist system was added to conventional rehabilitation.


Italian researchers evaluated two-year mobility outcomes in 48 stroke survivors who had been discharged from a hospital and were unable to walk at the study's start.


Half underwent conventional overground gait rehabilitation and half had conventional rehab plus electromechanical robotic gait training for several months.


"After two years, five times more patients who underwent robotic assistance training were able to walk without assistance, but only the most severely impaired," said Giovanni Morone, M.D., lead researcher and a physiatrist specialist and temporary assistant professor at the Santa Lucia Foundation, Institute for Research Hospitalization and Health Care in Rome.


"In others it seemed to make little difference, so the patient selection for this type of treatment is most important," Morone noted.


The robotic devices are electromechanical platforms attached to a patient's feet that are controlled by a physical therapist.


The therapist uses a controller to carefully measure a patient's status and to progressively set bearing weight and their walking pace.


In the study, patients were evaluated during their hospital stay, at discharge, and two years later.


Only patients with the greatest degree of motor impairment who underwent robotic training showed improvement in walking without assistance two years after their discharge.


The study appeared in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association. (ANI)


Read More: Moro

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