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Image credit: University of Southampton

Wearable sleeve could improve stroke recovery therapy

Researchers say that the technology might even lower the costs of physical therapy.

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University of Southampton

When it comes to tools that help stroke victims on their way to recovery, we've seen exoskeletons of sorts to medicine covered clot-busting nanoparticles. But researchers from the University of South Hampton and Imperial College London have something altogether different cooked up: a wireless sleeve that gathers information of how a patient's muscles react during home therapy. As the school tells it, this sleeve, dubbed M-Mark, is the first to bring mechanomyogrpahy sensors (essentially ultra-sensitive microphones that measure muscle contraction) together with tri-axial accelerometers, gyroscopes and magnetometers.

What that means in English is the sleeve is detecting the various inputs and information and using the data to show a patient how much he or she has improved since the beginning of therapy. That info will go to a tablet app that will also give doctors a better look at what's going on in the patient's environment and recovery regimen. It's a bit like Apple's Healthkit.

Lead researcher Jane Burridge says that the sleeve and app could decrease the amount of time spent with therapists and still ensure a stroke victim gets their 45 minutes of therapy in daily. Perhaps even better? It may bring costs down too -- something sorely needed in the healthcare field.

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