A device called an Ipsihand, developed by the Washington University team, is controlled by a person’s thoughts. A stroke survivor wears an electrode-equipped cap that detects electrical signals in the brain indicating how the person wearing the cap wants to move his or her paralyzed hand.
These brain signals are then amplified by a computer, triggering a control device fitted over the paralyzed hand. The result is guided movements – the paralyzed hand can open, close, and even grip, using the second and third fingers and thumb.
“Of course, there’s a lot more to using your arms and hands than this, but being able to grasp and use your opposable thumb is very valuable,” said researcher Thy Huskey, MD, University of Washington associate professor of neurology. “Just because your arm isn’t moving exactly as it was before, it’s not worthless. We can still interact with the world with the weakened arm.”
What’s most remarkable is the part of the brain used to trigger the Ipsihand device – it’s an area not previously known to be linked to hand movement.
November 16, 2017
Janet O’Dell, RN