Medscape: New wearable could retrain the brain after stroke

UC expert comments on recent study

The University of Cincinnati's Oluwole Awosika commented to Medscape on a new study that found a vibrating glove device could help manage hand spasticity symptoms after a stroke.

Researchers at Stanford University and Georgia Tech have developed a wearable device that straps around the wrist and hand, delivering subtle vibrations (akin to a vibrating cellphone) that may relieve spasticity as well as or better than the standard Botox injections.

Spasticity is a common post-stroke condition that occurs when a muscle involuntarily contracts, causing stiff or rigid muscles, often in patients' hands.

In a clinical trial, patients wore the device for three hours a day for eight weeks, while doing their usual activities. Symptom relief continued or improved for some patients, even after they stopped using the device, and more than half of the participants experienced equal or better results than another group that only received regular Botox injections.

"One of the treatments for spasticity — medications aside, this vibration machine aside — is more exercise, more passive range of motion," said Awosika, MD, associate professor of Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine in UC's College of Medicine, who was not involved in the study. "It would have been nice to have a control group that didn't get any of this stimulation or that was only encouraged to do three hours of movement a day. What would the difference be?"

Read the Medscape article.

Featured photo at top of a woman's hands. Photo/triocean/iStock.

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