‘Robot arm’ helps Gidea Park stroke victim regain movement at Queen’s

13:17 18 August 2014

Violet Dorkings with research nurse Karen Dunne

Violet Dorkings with research nurse Karen Dunne


It sounds like something from a science fiction film, but a robotic arm is helping give a 90 year old stroke victim a new lease of life.

Violet Dorkings, of Gidea Park, is gradually regaining movement in her left hand side as part of Queen’s Hospital futuristic study into stroke care.

She is one of the first patients to begin the therapy which involves placing your arm into the device to complete exercises such as moving between targets on a computer screen.

If the patient is unable to make the movement, the robot moves the patient’s arm for them.

But if the patient initiates a movement, the robot can provide adjustable levels of assistance - allowing the brain and arm to learn to work together again.

Queen’s is one of four centres across the UK to take part in the £3m study, led by Professor Helen Rodgers from Newcastle University.

Violet, who suffered a stroke last year, says she feels “blessed” to be part of the trial. She believes that movement in her arm has already been improved, just four sessions into the 36 she will receive.

“I really think it might be helping,” Violet said. “I am managing to do things that I wasn’t able to do before.”

“I’m hopeful that it will help me but, more importantly, it could really help other people in the future as well.”

More people are needed to take part in the Queen’s Hospital study.

Applicants should be between one week and five years since their stroke and have moderate or severe difficulty in moving their arm.

Once accepted, participants will be randomly allocated into one of three groups to receive either robot assisted training, intensive therapy or the usual NHS treatment.

To find out more, call Karen Dunne, Senior Stroke Research Nurse, on 01708 435 000 extension 6754/2079 or 01708 503 213.

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