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Research and Clinical Trials

Return to Robotic Devices Give Stroke Survivors a Helping Hand, Leg Up Overview

More on Robotic Devices Give Stroke Survivors a Helping Hand, Leg Up

Robotic Devices Give Stroke Survivors a Helping Hand, Leg Up

NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia Is Pioneering New Devices as Part of Ongoing Clinical Research Trials

First Medical Center in the Nation to Use Innovative Hand Rehab Device, and First in New York to Offer New Bionic Leg

NEW YORK (Jun 18, 2010) Robotic Devices Give Stroke Survivors a Helping Hand, Leg Up NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center Is Pioneering New Devices as Part of Ongoing Clinical Research Trials

First Medical Center in the Nation to Use Innovative Hand Rehab Device, and First in New York to Offer New Bionic Leg

As many as half of stroke survivors lose some of their ability to move their extremities. Now specialists in rehabilitation medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center are pioneering the use of robotic devices to help them regain this function. Patients are currently being recruited for ongoing clinical research trials with the new devices.

The Hospital is the only place in the country to offer patients a first-of-its-kind robotic hand rehabilitation device that promises to make recovery more efficient. The Hospital is also the first in New York to use a new bionic leg to help stroke survivors who have difficulty walking, potentially allowing them to move on their own.

"Robotic devices are transforming rehabilitation medicine by improving our ability to help patients regain movement lost by stroke or other causes. The devices systematically help restore neural pathways for crucial movements like walking and gripping. By doing so, patients can regain freedom and independence and move on with their lives," 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.

A Helping Hand

The new robotic hand rehabilitation device works by engaging the patient to move his fingers along small tracks. Over time, the exercises increase motor control and strength. While there are a range of robotic rehab devices for the shoulder, elbow and wrist, this device — known as the Amadeo — may be the first to focus specifically on the hand.

"From dressing to eating to bathing, our hands are essential to our lives. Our hope is that this innovative device will help restore hand movement in affected patients," says Lauri Bishop, a research physical therapist in the Department of Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. "Traditionally hand rehabilitation has been done by having patients practice movements like buttoning a shirt. The robot makes this process more efficient. It also makes it easier to track a patient's progress."

NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia is recruiting for a clinical research trial of the device. They are looking for people who have been recovering from a stroke for six months or longer and have difficulties with hand function. Study participants will have hour-long sessions three times a week for six weeks. Persons interested in enrolling may contact Lauri Bishop at (212) 305-6095 or lb2413@columbia.edu. The Amadeo device is provided by Tyromotion Inc. of Graz, Austria.

A Leg Up

Motors and a computer within the thigh-to-ankle Tibion Bionic Leg provide the assistance and resistance patients need to enable their stroke-weakened leg to work in concert with their unaffected leg during therapy. While patients wear the device, therapists teach them movements like getting up from a chair, and walking and climbing stairs with both legs. As patients progress, therapists progressively "dial back" support provided by the Bionic Leg, until the patients are able to walk safely without it.

"Prior robotic devices for helping patients improve their gait involved either therapists or robots moving the affected leg while the patient was suspended over a treadmill," says Ms. Bishop. "This bionic leg requires the patient to put weight on the affected leg, and to try to take steps on their own. The device isn't a prosthesis — it simply supports the patient while our therapists help them teach new areas of their brain to replace the stroke-affected areas that normally control leg function."

NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia is recruiting for a clinical research trial of the device. They are looking for persons who had a stroke at least six months ago who can walk inside their home with or without the use of a cane or walker, but still have difficulty with mobility. The six-week training program involves one-hour therapy sessions three times a week. Persons interested in enrolling may contact Lauri Bishop at (212) 305-6095 or lb2413@columbia.edu. There is no cost to those participating in the study.

The study is funded by makers of the PK100 bionic leg device, the Tibion Corporation of Moffett Field, Calif.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, based in New York City, is the nation's largest not-for-profit, non-sectarian hospital, with 2,353 beds. The Hospital has more than 1 million inpatient and outpatient visits in a year, including more than 220,000 visits to its emergency departments — more than any other area hospital. NewYork-Presbyterian provides state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine at five major centers: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian/The Allen Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division. One of the most comprehensive health care institutions in the world, the Hospital is committed to excellence in patient care, research, education and community service. NewYork-Presbyterian is the #1 hospital in the New York metropolitan area and is consistently ranked among the best academic medical institutions in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report. The Hospital has academic affiliations with two of the nation's leading medical colleges: Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Columbia University Medical Center

Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in basic, pre-clinical and clinical research, in medical and health sciences education, and in patient care. The medical center trains future leaders and includes the dedicated work of many physicians, scientists, public health professionals, dentists, and nurses at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, the College of Dental Medicine, the School of Nursing, the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and allied research centers and institutions. Established in 1767, Columbia's College of Physicians and Surgeons was the first institution in the country to grant the M.D. degree and is now among the most selective medical schools in the country. Columbia University Medical Center is home to the most comprehensive medical research enterprise in New York City and State and one of the largest in the United States. Columbia University Medical Center is affiliated with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, the nation's largest not-for-profit, non-sectarian hospital provider. For more information, please visit www.cumc.columbia.edu.

Contact

Gloria Chin
Phone: (212) 305-5587.
pr@nyp.org
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