Stroke, if survived, is the largest cause of long-term disabilities in the United States. Nearly 160,000 Americans have strokes every year, killing one of three individuals (reference?). Due to our nation’s ageing population, the stroke epidemic is expected to increase nearly 25% by year 2030 (Brewer, 2012). These stroke-related disabilities impact the survivor’s quality of life and independence in everyday activities. Nearly 50% to 75% of all stroke survivors have residual cognitive or motor disabilities that prevent them from living independently (neuro-rehab reference). To determine a successful post-stroke rehabilitation for these survivors, therapists must decide on the best form of therapy, study cause and risk factors of stroke prevalence, and consider long-term effects of impairments (reference).
The most recognized disability after a stroke is motor impairment. The main focus on recovery in survivors is to reduce their disability and to live independently again by participating in their normal everyday activities (Brewer, 2012). Clinical experiments have been done with robotic therapy in an attempt to find the best possible form of a successful functional recovery. It has been observed that robotic possibilities for establishing rehabilitation go beyond what a normal therapist can do. One component of this approach is the use of resistance in a direction opposite the movement. Interestingly, several researchers are still currently exploring robotic techniques that are not necessarily designed to imitate the therapeutic process, but actually probe new capabilities. For example, one possible technique that is being studied is to have the robot guide or pull the hand toward the desired trajectory and have the guidance transition to resistance as the client’s recovery progresses (Kovic, 2006). Robot- assisted therapy, in itself, has had the most success in functional recovery among these survivors. Therapists can still use hands
References: Brewer, L., Hickey, A., Horgan, F., Williams, D. (2012) Stroke Rehabilitation: Recent Advances and Future Therapies. QJM, Ireland. Oxford University Press. Kovic, Mark., Mussa-Ivaldi, F. A., Patton, James. L. (2006) Custom-Designed Haptic Training for Restoring Reaching Ability to Individuals with Poststroke Hemiparesis. Chicago, IL. Northwestern University. Boyd, Lara A., He, Jianghua., Macko, Richard F., Mayo, Matthew S., McDowd, Joan M., Quaney, Barbara M. (2009) Aerobic Exercise Improves Cognition and Motor Function PostStroke. Kansas City, Kansas. Kansas Medical Center. Fang, Jing., George, Mary G., Shaw, Kate M. (2012) Prevalence of Stroke-United States, 2006-2010. MMWR. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 61(20); 379-382. Bockelbrink, Angelina., Muller-Nordhorn, Jacqueline., Muller-Riemenschneider, Falk., Norte, Christian H., Stroebele, Nanette., Willich, Stefan N. (2011) Knowledge of Risk Factors, and Warning Signs of Stroke: A Systematic Review From a Gender Perspective. Allen, Claire L., Bayraktutan, Ulvi. (2008) Risk Factors for Ischaemic Stroke. International Journal of Stroke, 3: 105-116.