The recent stroke rehabilitation tools remain focused on the concept of neuroplasticity, which has been used by caregivers and therapists for years. It’s old knowledge that the brain is capable of retraining itself, but researchers now know how critical it is to start the recovery process at an early phase, as brain tissue damage during stroke is a transient trigger for complete brain damage.
In the aftermath of a stroke, the healthy brain deteriorates within three months. Neuroplasticity makes it possible for the healthy parts of the brain to form new connections leading to the affected nerves and muscles. It is during this stage; however when stroke patients form contractures and other circumstances that cause further limitations, which will prevent them from utilizing their healthy brain tissue.
But with modern technology, stroke patients can now have more options for recovery, most of which are designed to focus on the early stage of stroke rehab. Some of these recovery tools help doctors and therapists to monitor their patients’ progress while preventing further complications as they move towards partial or full recovery.
Robotic exoskeletons and other robotic devices are among the newest innovations made for the benefit of stroke victims. They are directly connected to the patient’s affected part to assist or permit movement. Robotic arms slings and supports are equipped with sensors that keep track of the extremities’ movements.
According to The Wall Street Journal, robotic exoskeletons are specifically beneficial because of their adjustable features. Support can be reduced as the patient slowly gains more muscle control and balance. When caregivers or therapists want to observe the patient, they do not have to move the patient’s limbs but instead, monitor the patient’s movements from afar because of the device.
Video Games For Stroke Patients
Through the years, doctors and therapists have been utilizing conventional low-tech therapy options for stroke patients, which can be quite hard, not to mention boring for the patient. Now, with the advent of modern rehabilitation technology comes stroke-specific video games that are more engaging and very easy to integrate into the home healthcare program. Bandit’s Shark Showdown is an exciting interactive video game that engages players to play as a dolphin controlling its movements. For the stroke patient, he wears a robotic sling and uses this sling to control the movements of the shark. This video game coordinates the dolphin’s jumps and dives with his muscular movements, activating his body and his brain synchronously.
One of the creators of the video game, John Krakauer, states that a simple muscular movement would need an exceptionally complicated set of algorithms. His video game is built to “break down the physical and mental distinction” and regain function to the weakened extremities.
Another equally useful therapeutic tool is the interactive canoe trip that the NYU Langone Medical Center has developed. Though still at its early stages of testing, the creators claim that their patients are more determined and are more compliant with their current regimens. This tool has also proven to be another encouraging option for stroke victims who are too impaired to go through conventional physical therapy.
Through the continuous progress and improvement in modern technology, stroke victims have a higher likelihood of getting quick and efficient treatment the earliest time possible, increasing their family and the patient’s hopes of recovering and living life as normally as they possibly can.