Robots lead stroke recovery
PARTICIPANTS are needed for a study being held in ECU Joondalup’s recently established laboratory that focuses on unravelling the mysteries of the human brain.
Neuroscientist Dylan Edwards, who has previously worked at Harvard Medical School in the US and has now joined ECU as a Professorial Research Fellow, was the driving force behind the NeuroRehabilitation and Robotics Laboratory.
His research focuses on improving the recovery process for people who have suffered neurological damage.
“I’m interested how we can use specially designed robots to improve the rehabilitation of people who have suffered from a stroke or a spinal injury,” he said.
“The best way to help someone regain some movement following a stroke or spinal injury is to have them repeat movements over and over again to relearn the motions using their available capacity.
“The advantage robotics offers is that robots can assist with performing the same precise movements with the patient thousands of times without getting tired.”
This has led to ECU acquiring the only KinArm Exoskeleton robot in Australia.
The $300,000 machine combines robotics and virtual reality that enables researchers to observe brain function through the movements of a patient’s arms more accurately than any human could.
“This allows us to examine how someone is moving in a much more detailed way, allowing us to design more targeted rehabilitation programs for patients,” Professor Edwards said.
“Giving someone even a small amount of movement back after they have suffered neurological damage can be extremely powerful.”
Professor Edwards is working with Onno van der Groen, Ken Nosaka and Manonita Ghosh to see if they can improve recovery of a stroke sufferer’s affected arm by training their good arm.
Dr van der Groen said they were recruiting ischaemic (a stroke due to an blockage rather than a bleed) chronic stroke survivors with a hemiparesis (weakness of the arm) as well as healthy participants to serve as a control group.
Contact Dr Ghosh at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 6304 2341.
Research fellow Dr Onno van der Groen and Professor Ken Nosaka with the Kinarm robot.