Allies in overcoming stroke
Photo by David Barczak and iStock April 12, 2021
Researchers use robotics to help stroke survivors recover
Editor’s note: This article appears in the new, all-digital issue of the University of Delaware Research magazine. This issue spotlights UD’s graduate students, an essential group of researchers who come from around the world, bringing fresh energy and new perspectives to their studies. It includes a special section on UD’s growing muscle in robotics and also reports on COVID-19 research with impact in Delaware, the nation and the world.
It comes suddenly — it may be weakness in an arm, trouble seeing, slurred speech. Stroke.
Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke, and it often leads to long-term disability.
“We think it only happens to old people, but it also happens to young people,” Jennifer Semrau said.
She remembers how shocked she was when the 36-year-old stroke patient with 2-year-old twins came into the clinic where she was working as a postdoctoral fellow a few years ago.
Now an assistant professor of kinesiology and applied physiology at UD, Semrau is delving deeper into a sense called proprioception that is critical to our movement, but is often damaged after a stroke. She is using an interactive robot called the Kinarm to get answers. Less than 20 of these devices are in use worldwide with stroke survivors.