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Vol. 37 No. 6, November/December 2000

Understanding and treating arm movement impairment after chronic brain injury: Progress with the ARM Guide

David J. Reinkensmeyer, PhD; Leonard E. Kahn, BS; Michele Averbuch, PT; Alicia McKenna-Cole, PT; Brian D. Schmit, PhD; W. Zev Rymer, MD, PhD

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Center for Biomedical Engineering, University of California at Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697; Sensory Motor Performance Program, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, IL 60611

Abstract — Significant potential exists for enhancing physical rehabilitation following neurologic injury through the use of robotic and mechatronic devices (or "rehabilitators"). We review the development of a rehabilitator (the "ARM Guide") to diagnose and treat arm movement impairment following stroke and other brain injuries. As a diagnostic tool, the ARM Guide provides a basis for evaluation of several key motor impairments, including abnormal tone, incoordination, and weakness. As a therapeutic tool, the device provides a means to implement and evaluate active assist therapy for the arm. Initial results with three stroke subjects demonstrate that such therapy can produce quantifiable benefits in the chronic hemiparetic arm. Directions for future research regarding the efficacy and practicality of rehabilitators are discussed.

Key words: arm movement, rehabilitation, robotics, stroke

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