New technology helping stroke victims brain anoxia

Posted: jan. 14, 2015 0

A few nights ago in her rehabilitation bed at lee memorial hospital, angie irvin grasped a rolled-up wash cloth in her left hand.

It was a major milestone for the unlikely stroke victim, who at age 50 used to run and hit the gym three or four times a week. It reminded her husband, scott, of her unwavering determination. She will be her old self again.

A traumatic stroke one recent sunday morning, two weeks before christmas, plunged the cape coral couple with 20-year-old twins in college into the unfamiliar and frightening world of stroke rehabilitation.

Therapists at lee memorial’s 60-bed rehabilitation hospital use a variety of techniques and devices to help brain and spinal cord injury patients regain mobility.Brain anoxia


One system being used with irvin involves neuroprosthetic technology from california-based bioness. The company develops devices used with hands, arms and legs that deploy repetitive electrical stimulation to nerves to promote motor and muscle recovery.

Once a day for 30 minutes or more, irvin’s occupational therapist attaches a bioness device — which resembles a brace — to irvin’s left forearm.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” angie irvin said. “I kind of have the attitude it’s worth trying anything to see if there will be a result. So to me it’s just like another added something that could be a benefit for me getting my feeling back.”

When she started the daily sessions with the device, she could not do anything with her hand.Brain anoxia now she can grasp a plastic cup placed in her hand.

Her occupational therapist, whitney walsh, hopes irvin can stay in the center for 30 days because she is young and a full recovery is doable.

“it is amazing what science can do,” said angie’s husband, scott.

Her rehab regime includes speech therapy, brain stimulation exercises and physical therapy to regain functionality in the left side of her body.

“she is very strong on her right side,” walsh said. “she can now kick her left leg up. She can stand on her left leg now. She can put her own shirt on not using equipment.”

The NCH healthcare system in collier county also uses bioness equipment targeted for the legs and ankles, to help stroke and brain injury patients improve from foot dropping or dragging, said NCH spokeswoman debbie curry.Brain anoxia

The technology can be used with patients with other central nervous disorders, multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy, according to bioness.

Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the united states, killing more than 137,000 people each year, according to the american stroke association. About 60 percent of strokes occur in women. Stroke-related care costs are huge, estimated at more than $73 billion in 2010.

Irvin said the occupational therapist can put the device on her arm and leave her to do other things.

“you feel a little bit of tingling or pain sensation, but it’s not so painful that you can’t tolerate it,” irvin said.

Walsh said the device cannot be used with patients who have pacemakers, active cancer, seizure disorders or who are pregnant.Brain anoxia that does eliminate a segment of the patient population who suffer strokes or other brain disorders. In addition, she won’t use it with stroke patients who cannot tell her if it is painful.

“some people can’t tolerate the stimulation,” she said. “I don’t like to use with patients who aren’t verbal. They can’t tell me if it hurts.”