Robin R Varghese, PT.
New Technology Changing Stroke Rehab
New technology is constantly changing the rehabilitation game. From video chats with doctors to robotic gloves and interactive video games, stroke recovery and rehabilitation tools have come a long way in the past decade. This new stroke recovery technology is helping link neuroplasticity and learning~a key part in recovery from a stroke.
After stroke, healthy brain tissue reverts to a more malleable stage for one to three months. Neuroplasticity allows healthy brain tissue to create new connections to the affected muscles and nerves for years, but during these early months of recovery, the brain is especially open to forming these connections. Unfortunately, this is also when patients’ bodies face their most extreme limitations, preventing them from taking full advantage of their healthy brain tissue’s malleability. That’s where modern technology comes in. Today’s stroke survivors have more recovery options than ever before, and many of them are designed to capitalize on this early recovery stage. Others allow doctors and caregivers to closely monitor patients’ progress and prevent common complications as they regain movement and retrain their brains in the months and years following stroke.
Some key stroke facts:
10 percent of stroke victims make a nearly complete recovery.
10 percent require long-term care following a stroke.
15 percent die shortly after having a stroke.
That means that 65 percent of stroke patients require some level of rehabilitative therapy. That can range from relearning basic activities of daily living (ADLs) such as speaking, managing personal hygiene or getting dressed to building back strength and dexterity in the affected limbs.
Robotic devices were shown to be more effective for severely affected patients. Robotic therapy combined with conventional therapy may be more effective than conventional therapy alone in patients with greater motor impairment during stroke rehabilitation.