Robo Rehab Device Arms Stroke Survivors With Ability to Regain Control

Available to Patients at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, High-Tech Arm Brace Promises to Improve Odds of Recovery From Paralysis

Jul 13, 2009


An estimated 50 percent of stroke survivors suffer from partial paralysis on one side of their body, and only 5 percent of those who receive rehabilitation therapy ever regain full control of their arm. Now, a new high-tech arm brace may better those odds and help millions of patients to regain the ability to perform everyday tasks like washing, getting dressed and driving.

The Myomo e100 NeuroRobotic System™ — available to patients at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital — works by sensing electrical impulses in the muscles that indicate intended movement and then provides patients with motorized assistance.

“Stroke destroys brain cells and neurological pathways that control movement. Through repetition of specific movements, patients relearn how to control their bodies. As part of a comprehensive rehabilitation program, we believe that the Myomo device could be effective in helping our patients to achieve greater use of the arm and independence,” 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.

Results from a pilot study by Dr. Stein published last year showed that stroke survivors with severe arm weakness who used the Myomo device showed a 23 percent increase in a measure of arm movement.

Along with other research, this device is also challenging conventional wisdom about the window of time in which rehabilitation is effective for stroke survivors. While it was once thought that rehabilitation was only effective in the months following a stroke, research has shown it to be effective many years later. Even years after a stroke, the brain retains the ability to form new connections and improve control over affected limbs.

Stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability in the United States. On average, a stroke occurs every 40 seconds in America and approximately 780,000 people suffer a stroke annually. Two-thirds of stroke patients require intensive rehabilitation.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital’s comprehensive stroke rehabilitation program is dedicated to helping patients achieve the highest level of function by preventing complications, reducing disability and improving independence. Its multidisciplinary team of rehabilitation specialists — comprising physiatrists, neurologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, dietitians, social workers, psychologists and others — helps patients regain a wide variety of life skills like mobility, communication and socialization.

Manufactured by Myomo Inc. of Boston, the device is only available for use under the supervision of an occupational or physical therapist.

Dr. Stein is an unpaid member of the Scientific Advisory Board for Myomo.

For more information, patients may call 866-NYP-NEWS.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, based in New York City, is the nation’s largest not-for-profit, non-sectarian hospital, with 2,242 beds. The Hospital has nearly 2 million inpatient and outpatient visits in a year, including more than 230,000 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 Hospital/The Allen Pavilion and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division. One of the largest and 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.

Media Contact:

Lezlie Greenberg 212-821-0560