July 17, 2014Image Caption: A pneumatic actuator tendon hammer hits a person's wrist while a transcranial magnetic stimulator creates a weak signal in the brain's motor cortex. The responses overlap in the brain, produce and send a strong signal back to the arm, and the wrist moves. Stroke hemiparesis individuals are not able to move that part of their body because they cannot create a strong enough neural signal that travels from the brain to the wrist.
The repetitive facilitation exercise (RFE) is one of the most common rehabilitation tactics for stroke patients attempting to regain wrist movement. Stroke hemiparesis individuals are not able to move that part of their body because they cannot create a strong enough neural signal that travels from the brain to the wrist.
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With RFE, however, patients get a mental boost. They are asked to think about moving. At the same time, a practitioner flexes the wrist. The goal is to send a long latency response from the stretch that arrives in the brain at the exact time the thought happens, creating a neural signal. The result is a strong, combined response that zips back to the forearm muscles and moves the wrist.
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