Stroke is the leading cause of disability in the United States. One of the reasons that it is
so disabling is because of upper extremity hemiparesis (weakness in one arm), which is
commonly seen after stroke.
The objective of this research is to see if a robotic system worn on the weakened arm like a
brace is more useful in improving the strength and coordination of the affected arm, and
those of other stroke survivors, than therapy only. Muscle weakness and lack of coordination
after a stroke have great effects on how severely disabled the arm is and on quality of life
after a stroke.
In this study, patients may be administered a new robotic brace as part of treatment for
their affected arms. If they use this brace, your electromyography (EMG) signals will be used
to control the powered arm brace. EMG signals are the small electrical signals that result
from the actions of the muscles. The system will "listen" to patients' muscles, using small
sensors that sit on top of the skin. The device will give the arm a "power-assist" when
patients bend or straighten their elbows. The investigators want to test how easy and
effective this system is to use. The investigators hypothesize that people using the robot
will be more successful in their rehabilitative efforts - and that their movement will
improve more - than people receiving traditional therapy.