Soft robotic exosuits help patients walk after stroke

Soft robotic exosuits help patients walk after stroke

Published Monday 31 July 2017  Article: A soft robotic exosuit improves walking in patients after stroke, Louis N. Awad et al., Science Translational Medicine, doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aai9084, published 26 July 2017.

Adapted Media Release

Scientists have created lightweight and low-profile soft robotic ankle supports that could help stroke patients walk with less difficulty and more normal strides. More than 7 million Americans are stroke survivors, and a vast majority of affected individuals never fully recover the ability to walk.

Recent advances in robotic technologies have shown promise for walking rehabilitation, but most assistive exosuits are rigid, bulky contraptions that are impractical for people to wear during everyday activities. In search of a better alternative, Louis Awad and colleagues developed a soft robotic ankle-support system weighing 0.9 kg (roughly twice as heavy as a soccer ball) to be worn on one side of the body.

Over two days of testing, nine subjects ranging from 30 to 67 years old who were undergoing rehabilitation after strokes all showed more efficient and less asymmetrical strides when wearing the device, both when walking tethered on a treadmill and over open ground. What’s more, the researchers observed the most pronounced improvements among the individuals who had the slowest unassisted walking speeds.

Their system consists of a close-fitting waist belt and leg straps connected to a calf sleeve where small robotic actuators exerted force on a shoe insole – helping to provide forward propulsion and correct problems with ankle dorsiflexion (commonly referred to as “drop foot,” which affects roughly 20% of stroke survivors).

Exercise as prevention, Rehab and Recovery for Stroke patients

Exercise as prevention, rehab and recovery!

Exercise is associated with many potential benefits, including lower BP, decreased arterial stiffness, increased high-density lipoprotein levels, decreased insulin resistance, and augmented collateral circulation. This analysis reminds clinicians that increased physical activity is an important “prescription” in the fight against recurrent vascular events. Community or hospital-based exercise programs should be strongly considered for optimal stroke prevention.

Exercise and physical activity are useful tools in the rehabilitation and the functional recovery of patients who have suffered a stroke. In addition, physical activity potentially provides protective benefits in the prevention of stroke, which may extend beyond the positive effects on traditional cardiovascular risk factors.

Based on the available evidence, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that stroke survivors should undertake: strength training to increase independence in activities of daily living, flexibility training to increase range of movement and prevent deformities, and training to enhance balance and coordination.

The AHA advises that each of these exercise modalities should be carried out twice or three times per week with the view to improving functional outcome after stroke. Aerobic exercise of moderate intensity should be carried out on at least three days of the week for twenty to sixty minutes at a time, in order to increase physical activity capacity, improve walking and independence, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. This guidance is derived, at least in part from the extrapolation of data from other non-stroke populations.

The NeuroCommunity Foundation is here for you:

For information about Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders, support groups, wellness programs, education events, and local resources in northern Los Angeles County, Ventura County, Central Coast & Central Valley, contact us here or call 818-745-5051 to speak with Jan D. Somers, MSW, LCSW, BCD, Education Director, Parkinson & Movement Disorder Information Center, The NeuroCommunity Foundation.

The NeuroCommunity Foundation is a non-profit foundation. We provide support groups, educational conferences, resources, research updates/ clinical trials information and PD events in the SFV/Ventura/Central Coast/ Inland Empire.

 As we rely on donations to continue providing these services at no charge, if you would like to support our efforts, you can donate with ease and security at our website or mail us your gift. Please make sure and note our website as a bookmark in your computer. It is:  www.neurocommunity.org   

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Adding challenges to your stroke recovery

OLD: Stroke recovery = neuroplasticity + repetition + consistency

However, we never addressed the importance of challenge, which is another important factor of stroke recovery. So if you add it to that formula, it would look like this:

NEW: Stroke recovery = neuroplasticity + repetition +

consistency + challenge

But we feel like the word challenge can be pretty vague. So today we’re going to clarify exactly what healthy challenge feels like during stroke recovery.

Skills vs. Task Difficulty

In order to maximize your improvement during stroke rehabilitation, you want to strike a fine balance between skill and challenge.

Choose a task that you have enough skill to accomplish – yet you still find it challenging.

Challenge is essential during recovery because it helps stimulate your brain and initiate neuroplasticity, the first variable in our stroke recovery formula.

However, if a task is too challenging, you may not have the skill to accomplish it. Not only is this discouraging, but it will prevent your brain from having the opportunity to rewire itself.

It’s all about finding the perfect balance for you.

Challenge Looks Different for Everyone

Because every stroke is different, the right level of challenge will look different for everyone. So pay no attention to what your neighbor is doing.

Also, the level of challenge that you need will increase as you continue to improve. So it’s essential to constantly seek a higher level of challenge as you progress through your recovery.

For example, while therapy putty exercises might have helped your hands improve a lot during the early stages of recovery, it might not be challenging enough in the later stages; at which point you would need to step up your game.

Choose Better Therapy Options

During recovery, you will continue to improve as long as you’re incorporating high repetition and consistency into your regimen.

This means that as one form of therapy starts to feel easy, it’s important to move onto something more challenging.

So always try to choose forms of therapy that have various levels of difficulty. Because once you master one level, you can immediately progress to the next.

It will also help you save money because you won’t have to buy multiple therapy devices.

A great example is our FitMi home therapy system. FitMi comes with an Adaptive Challenge Algorithm that unlocks more difficult levels when you’re ready for them.

This keeps you constantly challenged – and you don’t even have to think about it!

Summary

Always remember to keep yourself challenged during recovery. This will maximize your progress because challenge helps stimulate neuroplasticity.

Don’t challenge yourself too much though, as it can undermine all your effort. Balance is key.

And now you have the complete formula for a successful recovery!

Stroke recovery = neuroplasticity + repetition + consistency + a good, healthy challenge

The NeuroCommunity Foundation is here for you:

For information about Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders, support groups, wellness programs, education events, and local resources in northern Los Angeles County, Ventura County, Central Coast & Central Valley, contact us here or call 818-745-5051 to speak with Jan D. Somers, MSW, LCSW, BCD, Education Director, Parkinson & Movement Disorder Information Center, The NeuroCommunity Foundation.

The NeuroCommunity Foundation is a non-profit foundation. We provide support groups, educational conferences, resources, research updates/ clinical trials information and PD events in the SFV/Ventura/Central Coast/ Inland Empire.

As we rely on donations to continue providing these services at no charge, if you would like to support our efforts, you can donate with ease and security at our website or mail us your gift. Please make sure and note our website as a bookmark in your computer. It is:  www.neurocommunity.org 

The NeuroCommunity Foundation is exempt from Federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donors may deduct contributions to the foundation as provided in section 170 of the Internal Revenue Code.

 Mailing Address: 

The NeuroCommunity Foundation

23705 Vanowen St. # 216

West Hills, CA 91307

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Therapeutic Humor promotes wellness

What is therapeutic humor?

Therapeutic humor is any intervention that promotes health and wellness by stimulating a playful discovery, expression or appreciation of the absurdity or incongruity of life’s situations.

This intervention may enhance work performance, support learning, improve health, or be used as a complementary treatment of illness to facilitate healing or coping, whether physical, emotional, cognitive, social or spiritual.

Laughter is the power of positive healing,” she said. “I’ve seen it work best for people with losses – death, divorce, a job, for example. Humor is a tool to empower people to move forward. It helps them improve their quality of life, to take better care of themselves.”

“A belly laugh increases the ability of your immune system to fight infections,” said Elizabeth Taylor, on the faculty of Bastyr University, the Seattle-area institution devoted to natural medicine.

Tip to Relieve Stress and Be Happier   by Roberta Gold, Laughter for the Health  of it. Los Angeles based Recreation Therapist and Humor Therapist

Don’t look at the news headlines first thing in the morning.  Don’t watch the news right before going to bed.  Instead think of something you really enjoyed doing during the day.  Make that your last thought before you go to bed.

There are so many benefits you can receive from laughing more. Relieve your stress, improve immunity and even tone up your abs.

Roberta belongs to an organization called AATH.org  – The Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor.  Visit their website to find research, books and articles about humor and humor therapy.

If more people listened to the comedy channel on the radio when they’re in their cars, there would be much less road rage.You can lower your cortisol levels (the hormone that may be making you fat) by simply laughing, even if you start with a fake laugh.  Your body doesn’t differentiate between a real laugh and a fake one.  When you’re feeling you’re lowest, force yourself to laugh.

When you get hit with intense “stuff” turn to gratitude. It will make it easier for you to laugh and feel better.  Write down what you’re grateful for in a notebook. (Writing in long hand will give you the best results)

Write a “to do” list and cross off something you’ve accomplished each day. When you cross off an accomplishment, or write a gratitude list, it will make you feel happier.

The NeuroCommunity Foundation is here for you:

For information about Parkinson’s disease, Stroke, TBI and MS – other movement disorders, support groups, wellness programs, education events, and local resources in northern Los Angeles County, Ventura County, Central Coast & Central Valley, contact us here or call 818-745-5051 to speak with Jan D. Somers, Education Director, Parkinson & Movement Disorder Information Center, The NeuroCommunity Foundation.

The NeuroCommunity Foundation is a non-profit foundation. We provide support groups, educational conferences, resources, research updates/ clinical trials information and PD events in the SFV/Ventura/Central Coast/ Inland Empire.

 As we rely on donations to continue providing these services at no charge, if you would like to support our efforts, you can donate with ease and security at our website or mail us your gift. Please make sure and note our website as a bookmark in your computer. It is:  www.neurocommunity.org 

The NeuroCommunity Foundation is exempt from Federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donors may deduct contributions to the foundation as provided in section 170 of the Internal Revenue Code.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Healing your heart and head after a stroke

Stroke Recovery as a Love Story – The Science of Healing and Happiness                      

(Excerpts from www.flintrehab.com)

To heal your brain after stroke, you need to approach it from the head and the heart.

You have to learn the science behind how your brain actually heals and how your unhappiness is hindering your recovery.

We’ll cover the brainy stuff first and dig into the feel-good stuff at the end.

Start with the Head

To get your life back after stroke, you need to regain lost skills, which is possible through the phenomenon of neuroplasticity.

Neuroplasticity works when you train your brain to become better at a certain skill. During stroke recovery, you’ll technically be working on ‘old skills,’ but the brain is relearning them like new again.

To make neuroplasticity work, you need to get your affected muscles moving, and you need to get them moving in a repetitious manner. When you repeat a movement over and over, it strengthens the new connections in your brain.

As those connections get stronger and stronger, you continue to get better and better.

We recommend using neuroplasticity in two ways: to heal the brain and boost happiness.

Move to the Heart

Stroke recovery can take a serious toll on your happiness, and that can set back your progress.

You need to foster a place of love and happiness within yourself first, and then all your efforts will flourish.

The most common struggles impeding happiness during stroke recovery are angerfrustration, and depression. All of these emotions are heavily influenced by negative self-talk. And if you can untrain that negative self-talk, then you can absolutely, undoubtedly propel your recovery into greatness.

You will be able to achieve a full recovery because you simply think you can.

This concept is very critical to your success because you need to understand exactly how your thoughts are influencing your recovery. Because if you feel like you’ve plateaued, you haven’t. And the only thing standing in the way of a higher recovery is you and your current thoughts.

And we’re going to show you how to retrain those thoughts to set you up for success.

Boost Your Recovery with Mindfulness – Backed by Science

The tips you’re about to read may not seem like a big deal. They may not seem like the missing piece of the stroke recovery puzzle – but they are.

And they’re backed by science.

So try to keep an open mind as we explain how mindfulness can positively impact your recovery, starting with this short example.

Consider for a moment which of these situations would make you happiest:

  • Doing your hand exercises while becoming absorbed by your hand exercises
  • Doing your hand exercises while thinking about traveling in Paris
  • Traveling in Paris while thinking about your hand exercises
  • Traveling in Paris while becoming absorbed by the beauty around you

Believe it or not, science actually says that situation #1 and #4 lead to the most happiness.

Yes. It’s a scientific fact that we’re happiest when thought and action are aligned. Unfortunately, we spend about half our time thinking about things completely unrelated to what we’re doing, and it’s draining our happiness.

What Does This Mean For Stroke Recovery?

During stroke recovery, it’s hard to be present.

You’re in a very difficult place and you just want out.

It’s likely that your thoughts are absorbed in the past or the future. You could be reminiscing on how great life was before your stroke, or you could be yearning for the future when you’re finally recovered.

Both of these thoughts are not rooted in what you’re doing. They’re rooted somewhere else.

And that’s exactly what leads to unhappiness and failure.

But sometimes it’s not your intention to have a wandering mind. Sometimes wandering minds are the result of years of mental training.

Since a very young age, it’s likely that you allowed your mind to wander. You’ve been doing this repeatedly for years – and it’s trained your brain to, well, wander. Because that’s how neuroplasticity works.

Luckily you can use neuroplasticity and repetition to untrain your mind from wandering – and you can get there through meditation.

Meditate for a Higher Recovery – Backed By Science

And now we have to tell you the thing you hate hearing:

Meditation is found to be one of the best things for stroke recovery.

You hate hearing it because it’s such a simple solution and therefore couldn’t possibly have a meaningful impact on your recovery – not when you’ve been putting in all this hard, grueling work.

How could something so simple be the thing that makes or breaks your recovery?

We hear you. But the science makes a pretty strong argument on this one.

Meditation is proven to help:

  • Reduce depression, tiredness, and fatigue
  • Grow the grey matter of your brain
  • Improve balance, attention, and emotion regulation

It’s quite a list, isn’t it?

And you can experience all those benefits – and increased happiness – by starting a daily meditation habit.

Your New Habit

Starting a daily meditation habit can be tough even though the practice itself seems easy.

So if you want the habit to stick, follow these steps.

How to do it:

Every day, meditate for just 30 seconds. Yup, 30 seconds and that’s it. If you want to go longer, then please do. But make 30 seconds your minimum. Everything else is extra.

How to make it a habit:

All habits need cues, so link your meditation to a specific daily event, like going to bed or waking up.

This way, the event will trigger the habit and you’ll be much more likely to stick to it.

Why you should do it:

Meditation, when done properly, can train your brain to focus more on the present moment, and this will help increase your happiness during a time where you need it most.

Music Therapy Wellness clinic at CSUN

Music Therapy Clinic Information

The Music Therapy Wellness Clinic at CSUN

The Music Therapy Wellness Clinic provides individually designed music activities for children and adults with disabilities * PD, MS, STROKE and TBI)  and special challenges, including autism, developmental delay, physical, mental and emotional disorders, and learning disabilities.

Music therapy is a field that uses music in a prescribed manner as a treatment for rehabilitating, maintaining, and improving the lives of persons with physical, intellectual and emotional disabilities. Music Therapy is a creative arts therapy similar to others such as Art, Dance, and Drama Therapy. It is, however, unique in that music provides an accessible and enjoyable medium for growth and learning. It is a healing art, based on scientific principles and grounded in research.

The Music Therapy Wellness Clinic is dedicated to creating an environment where an individual with special challenges can acquire necessary life skills through the unique, creative and enjoyable medium of music. Our therapists are internationally recognized and encompass a range of techniques and areas of expertise. Our entire treatment team is dedicated to creating the opportunity for each participant to express his or her true creative essence while gaining needed skills and enhancing self-esteem.

The Music Therapy Wellness Clinic is a teaching clinic for the CSUN Music Therapy Department. As such, all sessions are utilized for student observation and learning and are part of the educational process for future music therapists.

Some of the benefits of Music Therapy include:

  • Development of fine and gross motor skills
  • Improvement in acquisition and application of academic fundamentals
  • Development of practical life skills
  • Increase in socialization
  • Enhancement of self-esteem
  • Expansion of the quality of life through musical enjoyment and creative self-expression

The Music Therapy Wellness Clinic provides individual and group sessions conducted by a highly trained and experienced Music Therapist. A variety of instruments are used, including piano, guitar, percussion, auto-harp, recorder, electronic instruments, harmonica, and voice.

Contact Information

To contact the clinic please call 818-677-5663 or you can email us at csunmtwc@csun.edu

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pet Therapy Helps Stroke Survivors

How pet therapy can help stroke survivors

by Lucy Lazarony

Working with therapy dogs can assist stroke survivors in their physical and cognitive recoveries and lift their spirits.

“People will think ‘Oh, I’ll brush the dog’ but really what they’re doing is their arm and hand exercises, says Karen Stalmann, who has been working with therapy dogs for 15 years.  Stalmann, who lives in Thornton, Colorado is a volunteer with a nearby Easterseals program. She visits rehab centers and brings her German Shephard to visit and cheer stroke survivors.

“People do get to relax and get soothing relief from an animal,” Stalmann says.

Stalmann uses highway cones with poles to assist stroke survivors with balance exercises, there are ramp-walking exercises, support-and-aid exercises with stroke survivors and a therapy dog walking on thick mats, strength-training exercises, and cognitive exercises in which stroke survivors are asked the difference between a therapy dog and a stuffed toy dog that Stalmann brings along.

[Read more…]

New discovery may improve recovery after stroke

 

Advances made in recovery after a stroke

Adapted Media Release

Faster and better recovery after stroke may be the result of a newly discovered treatment strategy that created new nerve synapses in the brain – a key factor for learning. A study at Sahlgrenska Academy showed improved ability to use the affected paw in mice that received the treatment.

“More nerve sprouts and connections between nerve cells are created so that the remaining cells can take over functions that the dead cells once had,” says Marcela Pekna, associate professor at the Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology at Sahlgrenska Academy.

The focus is on a molecule called C3a peptide, which is produced naturally in the body and even more so with certain medical conditions. In this case, it was administered to laboratory animals through nasal drops.

[Read more…]

Participants needed for new research studies and clinical trials

Participants needed for new research studies and clinical trials

The NeuroCommunity Foundation, in conjunction with the research community, want to ensure you have the opportunity to participate in research studies to help others and yourself. Your participation can assist researchers find new methods to prevent, detect or treat many neurological diseases.The following is a list of available research studies now recruiting interested participants. It is a small portion of the effort and dedication the research community places for advances in treatments for diseases that affect us all.  The following studies include aging, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Stroke and Traumatic Brain Injury.

[Read more…]

San Fernando Valley Stroke Support Group

San Fernando Valley  Stroke Support Group

Join the ongoing Support Group for Stroke sufferers. To  RSVP and discuss the groups core makeup and focus, we suggest you contact the Support Group Leader directly.

Where: Location Northridge Hospital Medical Center

18300 Roscoe Boulevard  IFL Bldg., 3rd fl-rehab unit

Northridge, California  CA 91328

When Wednesdays 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Contact: Leader Mindy Elkabetz Phone (818) 885-8500, Ext. 4865

Mindy.lassman-elkabetz@chw.edu Day/

Comments Education, resources, speakers, social interaction. Focus on support, Encouragement,friendship, and education.

[Read more…]

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