Lifewatch: Robotic Arm

Reported by Claire Hosmann - email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

(WECT) - Up to 80% of stroke survivors have trouble moving their arms.

Now, people who were told they were out of options are making progress using a robotic arm brace.

Louesa Foster was a busy kindergarten teacher who juggled her career with her growing family.  Two years ago, a stroke changed everything.

Now she struggles to speak and can barely move anything on her right side.

After other therapy programs failed, Louesa enrolled in a study for a robotic arm brace.

"When a patient tries to move the arm a signal is generated in the muscle. The brace that the patient is wearing picks up this signal and the robot that's embedded in that brace helps the patient move the arm in the way that they want to move it," said Dr. Stephen Page, an associate professor of rehabilitation.

After a few weeks with the brace, Louesa made progress.  She's now able to make simple movements, like grabbing a ball.

The goal is to retrain her brain to work with her arm.

"We don't want the patients to become dependent on the brace and use the brace for the rest of their lives," said Page.

It is a slow process that takes a lot of practice, but Louesa believes it's worth the hard work to reclaim her life.

The brace is FDA approved for use in a therapy setting.

For more information about the robotic arm, click here or here.