Health Watch - Danger: After Brain Injury

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about dangerous situations and how modern medicine can help patients deal with them or recover after them. A traumatic brain injury may leave patients having to relearn even the simplest daily tasks. That takes a lot of work, but technology can help.

Regaining function after a brain injury or stroke requires re-learning all the fine movements that the arms must do even for simple tasks. But patients also have to rebuild strength they’ve lost due to injury. In traditional therapy, physical therapists guide patients through tasks that they learn through repetition. But a mechanical arm device can help patients go through these motions more times by supporting the arm’s weight.

Dr. Patricia Smith, chair of physical therapy at UT Southwestern, says it essentially takes gravity away, so it’s easier for patients to focus on and practice the movements. That re-trains the brain to direct and control movements.

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March 2011


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