An estimated 50 percent of stroke survivors suffer from partial paralysis on one side of their body, and only 5 percent of those who receive rehabilitation therapy ever regain full control of their arm. Now, a new high-tech arm brace may better those odds and help millions of patients to regain the ability to perform everyday tasks like washing, getting dressed and driving.
The Myomo e100 NeuroRobotic System™ works by sensing electrical impulses in the muscles that indicate intended movement and then provides patients with motorized assistance. NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell is the first and only metro-area hospital to offer the Myomo device.
"Stroke destroys brain cells and neurological pathways that control movement. Through repetition of specific movements, patients relearn how to control their bodies. As part of a comprehensive rehabilitation program, we believe that the Myomo device could be effective in helping our patients to achieve greater use of the arm and independence," says Dr. Joel Stein, director of the rehabilitation medicine service and physiatrist-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, chief of the Division of Rehabilitation Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, and chairman of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Results from a pilot study by Dr. Stein published last year showed that stroke survivors with severe arm weakness who used the Myomo device showed a 23 percent increase in a measure of arm movement.
Along with other research, this device is also challenging conventional wisdom about the window of time in which rehabilitation is effective for stroke survivors. While it was once thought that rehabilitation was only effective in the months following a stroke, research has shown it to be effective many years later. Even years after a stroke, the brain retains the ability to form new connections and improve control over affected limbs.
Stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability in the United States. On average, a stroke occurs every 40 seconds in America and approximately 780,000 people suffer a stroke annually. Two-thirds of stroke patients require intensive rehabilitation.
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital’s comprehensive stroke rehabilitation program is dedicated to helping patients achieve the highest level of function by preventing complications, reducing disability and improving independence. Its multidisciplinary team of rehabilitation specialists — comprising physiatrists, neurologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, dietitians, social workers, psychologists and others — helps patients regain a wide variety of life skills like mobility, communication and socialization.
Manufactured by Myomo Inc. of Boston, the device is only available for use under the supervision of an occupational or physical therapist.
Dr. Stein is an unpaid member of the Scientific Advisory Board for Myomo. NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center is currently performing NIH-sponsored research in partnership with Myomo.
For more information, patients may call (866) NYP-NEWS.
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