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FDA Approves Robotic Device for Stroke Rehabilitation

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Oregon Health and Science University in Portland reports that the Food and Drug Administration approved for marketing in the U.S. a robotics device that helps stroke patients move limbs and improve muscle function during their rehabilitation. The device was developed by Paul Cordo, a biomedical engineering professor at Oregon Health and AMES Technology, a spin-off company that licensed Cordo’s discoveries, and where he serves as chief technologist.

Cordo’s research examines the application of muscle vibrarion to receptors in muscle tendons in joints when the joints are moved. This simultaneous muscle vibration and joint movement aims to exaggerate the perception of the extremity’s movement, which in turn helps alert the central nervous system to that movement.

Once alerted to the movement of the limb, the brain then helps guide the movement. This enhanced sensation, from both the vibration and movement, is believed to help the brain re-establish communication with the affected muscles.

The AMES device delivers a combination of therapies to the limb through programmed treatment regimens controlled by software routines. The device is designed to treat more severely disabled stroke patients, who today will not likely recover functional use of their affected limbs and must work around their disabilities. Cordo estimates that covers about half of the stroke patients.

“How many other types of medical conditions can you think of where we give up on curing the worst affected 50 percent of the affected population,” says Cordo. “We don’t think this is acceptable.”

The device is the product of about 10 years of Cordo’s work. Oregon Health says the AMES device was tested in a series of clinical studies with chronic and sub-acute stroke patients, as well as some patients with chronic spinal cord injuries, involving use of patients’ arms, hands, and legs. The results, says the university, show the device improves movement and strength among patients with stroke or spinal cord injuries, in some cases restoring their ability to conduct independent activities.

The AMES device is not applicable to all types of spinal cord injuries, nor can it help regain movement in patients with a completely severed spinal cord, says Oregon Health.

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3 comments to FDA Approves Robotic Device for Stroke Rehabilitation

  • […] FDA Approves Robotic Device for Stroke Rehabilitation […]

  • Wow, this is really very promising. I do hope that this works to most if not all stroke patients. As we all know recovering from stroke is a lengthy and occasionally painful progression. Sadly age does also matter it produces other issues such as dementia, brittle bones, and arthritis in old joints but, there is no harm in trying on this therapy.

  • Thank you Kimberly for your comment and readership of Science Business. Yes, this device shows promise, and FDA clearance should help speed it to the market. The next step is getting insurance companies and Medicare to pay for it. – AK