Thursday, January 12, 2012

Stroke patients maintain benefits of robot therapy

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Stroke patients who have the most trouble walking may see lasting benefits from using machines that move their legs to simulate walking, say Italian researchers.

Their study, although small, is one of the first to observe a benefit lasting at least two years in a group of stroke patients who used the machines, which are sometimes employed in conjunction with traditional physical therapy.

The new findings should help doctors target which stroke patients will benefit the most from the machines according to lead author Dr. Giovanni Morone, of the Santa Lucia Foundation in Rome.

"Robotic and electromechanical devices might play an important role, not for all patients, but for a selected kind of patients," said Morone in an email.

The new findings, published in the journal Stroke, are based on the same group of 48 patients the researchers reported on in September, in the journal Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair, where they suggested stroke patients who were most severely affected by a stroke also gained the most from the machines after three months of therapy.....Next