MYOMO: New technology for stroke rehabilitation


In the United States more than 700,000 people suffer a stroke each year.   Approximately two-thirds of these individuals survive and require rehabilitation. The goals of rehabilitation are to help stroke patients become as independent as possible and to attain the best possible quality of life.
Even though rehabilitation does not “cure” the effects of stroke in that it does not reverse brain damage, rehabilitation can substantially help people achieve the best possible long-term outcome.  The importance rehabilitation after stroke cannot be overemphasized. Studies have shown that rehabilitation is responsible for most of the recovery experienced by patients after a stroke, and that without it, little or no improvement can be accomplished. Stroke rehabilitation provides a targeted and organized plan to re-learn functions lost in the shortest period of time possible.
Rehabilitation helps stroke survivors relearn skills that are lost when part of the brain is damaged. There is a strong consensus among rehabilitation experts that the most important element in any rehabilitation program is carefully directed, well-focused, repetitive practice — the same kind of practice used by all people when they learn a new skill, such as playing the piano or pitching a baseball.
New technology has been developed to aid in rehabilitation of patients post stroke. The use of Myomo (short for My Own Motion) Mobility Systems, in addition to traditional physical and occupational therapy, can be an effective tool for stroke rehabilitation.  A wide variety of research studies show strong evidence that arm rehabilitation is most beneficial when an intense, task orientated therapy program is added to traditional therapy.
Myomo Mobility System is a neuro-robotic arm brace that fits like a sleeve on a person’s arm. The arm brace has sensors that sit on the skin’s surface and detect even a very faint muscle signal.  When a person with a weak or partially paralyzed arm tries to move their arm and a muscle signal fires, the robotics in the Myomo Mobility System engage to assist in completing the desired movement.  In helping achieve desired movement, the devise can be worn as a functional aid, used during exercise to maintain gains or applied as a rehabilitation devise that re-teaches arm movement to the brain.  It is intended to increase arm movement affected by a stroke or other brain injury. Along with regular, routine physical and occupational therapy at home, the Myomo Mobility System can help a stroke survivor begin using their arms for routine, daily tasks that were not possible before, helping them to return to independence.  Even those who have had a stroke many years ago can get some arm movements restored.
Is MYOMO right for you?  Patients must meet criteria for home rehabilitation therapy and have an order from their doctor. For more information, to find out if you qualify for MYOMO, or to make a referral, click on the Arrange for Care button on the home page or call 978-552-4444.

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