A simple device for assisting in the therapy to regain the range of motion as well as strengthening the motor skills that control the fingers movement are being developed in Universiti Malaysia Sarawak. This will offer an alternative rehabilitation activity for post-stroke patients with partial paralysis of one side of the body.
Researchers: S. Mohamaddan, M.S. Osman, N.H.N. Mohamed, A.A. Alias
The importance of human fingers in a human body needs no emphasis; major daily functions are performed using them. Life, therefore, is greatly affected when certain circumstances such as injuries, disabilities, diseases, and deformation involved finger control. One such example is stroke. Stroke is the third largest cause of death in Malaysia. There are about 17,909 stroke victims reported in 2005 and the figure is expected to exceed 25,000 per year by 2020.
When life is spared, post-stroke patients with upper-extremity hemiparesis (partial paralysis of one side of the body) will experience paralysis on the upper limb especially on the hand and forearm. This disability will definitely affect the patient daily routine. This requires rehabilitation activity which involved therapy to regain the range of motion as well as strengthening the motor skill for controlling the fingers movement.
In many cases, the number of therapist for the rehabilitation exercise is not sufficient and the therapy can be difficult to conduct. To counter these problems, the research group at UNIMAS is looking at a grasp mechanism assistant device which would assist in finger rehabilitation exercise for post-stroke patient, at anywhere, anytime. The device, through its motor-support mechanical mechanism, will allow the affected fingers to perform the extension and flexion movement needed in the rehabilitation activity.
A prototype has been developed and it is hope that the project can help the community involved and offer an alternative rehabilitation activity for post-stroke patients.