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Robotic device helps stroke patients, study finds

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American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Robotic, Elbow, Brace, Myomo, Woodie Flowers, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

An electromyographically controlled robotic elbow brace being developed by Myomo helped to improve arm function impaired by stroke, according to results of a pilot study published in the April issue of the American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

The initial prototype was developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA, and enabled paralyzed spinal cord injury patients to move their arms. The researchers subsequently founded Myomo, which is located in Boston, to commercially develop the product.

The robotic elbow brace is lightweight, wearable, and portable, and works by reinforcing movement initiated and controlled by the device’s wearer. The company envisions that the device, once FDA-approved, could help patients who experienced strokes even years earlier to regain arm movement.

“This brace will allow people who have suffered from neurological trauma to rebuild strength and gain independence,” said Woodie Flowers, PhD, a mechanical engineering professor at MIT who led the research team that developed the brace. “The joint brace is easily controlled by the user and appears to be cost-effective.”

Copyright: 2007 CMP Media, LLC

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