The SMART Arm (Sensory-Motor Active Rehabilitation Training Arm) is a non-robotic device that helps stroke survivors with upper limb weakness regain movement of their arm, particularly with reaching. It was shown on ABC’s Catalyst a few months ago.
Link to ABC Catalyst documentary: www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxkdCGA4kuU
– It targets the key movement dysfunction of reaching.
– Has a mechanical component which guides the movement.
– It can be used with electrical stimulation, which allows stroke survivors with severe weakness to use it and achieve reaching through full range.
– It involves an interactive computer program that provides feedback of performance as well as incremental increases in load and reaching range. This reduces the degrees of freedom to be controlled and provides a goal for movement.
– Allows stroke survivors to be empowered to drive their own rehabilitation and practice independently.
– Progress can be monitored, recorded and reported on.
– Variable resistance to increase strength.
– Interactive training accelerates motor relearning.
– It is portable.
– Not yet available for distribution to purchase.
Evidence so far:
– SMART Arm training has been found to improve arm function, arm muscle activation and neural plasticity in people with chronic stroke.
– An NHMRC-funded clinical trial currently taking place with stroke survivors immediately after stroke.
There are a number of robotic and non-robotic devices on the market that provide increased opportunity for independent practice for stroke survivors, which as we know is essential for driving neuroplasticity and recovery. Our new and upcoming Upper Limb Bootcamp and Upper Limb Groups at Advance Rehab Centre will involve practice with similar devices. For more information on the Upper Limb groups, please call our office on 9906 7777.