Musicglove Helps in Stroke Recovery

GettyImages_539603383.jpg

A stroke can produce a number of different effects. One of the long-term effects of a stroke includes hand and finger weakness and trouble with fine motor coordination of the hand. This can make it difficult to button a button, tie a tie, manage small items in your wallet or purse, cut your food or even put on your underwear. The loss of independence can be frustrating and depressing.

Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy

Using muscles helps build them.

When someone has a stroke, the brain is injured and can't communicate with the muscles. This causes weakness and coordination problems. However, research shows that when the muscles are exercised, the muscle activity can stimulate the brain to heal. Additionally, muscle exercise works to build more muscle strength and thus maximizes the ability to move with strength and control. Computer games have been proven to be on of the beneficial methods for stroke recovery.

What if I Don't get Proper Rehabilitation?

A stroke is exhausting and discouraging. It is hard to stay motivated to exercise and go to therapy. However, NOT using the muscles that were affected by a stroke actually makes stroke survivors get WORSE over time. This happens through a process called muscle atrophy- or muscle shrinkage. After a stroke, survivors who do not participate in optimal physical therapy exercises and regular rehabilitation or who are severely disabled, experience muscle atrophy.

After a few months, the atrophy can make the disability from a stroke even worse.

Muscle stiffness is another side effect of not exercising weakened muscles, which also gets worse over time. This is why it is so important to get the right exercise and physical therapy after a stroke.

A New Technique

But a new at-home technique in stroke rehabilitation can help with those problems.

A glove designed to sense your hand movements can detect your movements and provide feedback so that you and your therapists can better monitor your progress. The glove is called musicglove and it has been proven effective in improving hand and finger movements of stroke survivors. Scientific trials performed at the University of California, Irvine showed improvement of fine motor skills of the hand after using the glove.

Patients who use the glove wear it while playing a music game on a small, lightweight monitor. The glove has a sensory device and works to provide feedback of the hand and finger movements. Patients say that playing the music game whole wearing the musicglove helps with motivation and keeping up with an exercise plan for the weak or paralyzed hand. But the most important factor is that is has been proven to show objective improvement. Stroke survivors explain that they have improved fine motor skills in the hands after using the glove.

The glove is designed for use at home and it is available online.

Patients who used the glove to play the music game were generally not experienced with computers or computer games but were easily able to learn to use the musicglove. Patients can play the game and can practice and learn to get better scores on the music game. Those who were able to improve scores on the music game  showed improvement of hand function. The musicglove system worked for people with mild to serious hand impairment.

Safety

The music glove has been safe for at-home use.

This new device looks exciting and, hopefully, in the near future, we will continue to see similar devices for other parts of the body impaired by a stroke. You can work together with your stroke care team to maximize your improvement so that you can get back to doing the things you love to do.

Sources

Retraining and assessing hand movement after stroke using the MusicGlove: comparison with conventional hand therapy and isometric grip training, Friedman N, Chan V, Reinkensmeyer AN, Beroukhim A, Zambrano GJ, Bachman M, Reinkensmeyer DJ, Journal of Neuroengineering and Rehabilitation, April 2014

Continue Reading