Trick the brain to better learn to reuse their arms, hands, or legs. This is the technique put forward by the company Dessintey with its mirror screen system to support patients in hospital rehabilitation departments.
It’s a small revolution to help regain such precious autonomy. Several French medical services are beginning to adopt new technology to support mainly stroke patients. Sometimes partially paralyzed in one limb, they can teach other parts of their brain to control muscles.
During rehabilitation sessions, patients can relearn how to use their limbs and hands. The French company Dessintey relies on “augmented mirror therapy”, where a patient finds himself facing a screen which gives him the impression of seeing his arm or hand move to grasp an object for example. CNEWS visited the Pré-Saint-Gervais clinic (Seine-Saint-Denis) to find out how occupational therapists support their patients.
STIMULATE THE BRAIN
“Such a device comes in addition to the rehabilitation sessions that we provide to people with stroke but also those with certain cognitive disorders, explains CNEWS Adrien, an occupational therapist at this clinic. Moreover, such technology is not intended for all patients affected by such an accident, we use it when the patients have been taken care of sufficiently early in order to make the best use of the elasticity of the brain. Because by following this principle, we know that certain areas of this organ can be activated when stimulated to compensate for the motor skills that were lost after a stroke.
Facing the Dessintey device, the patient sits down and slides his arm. After the first part is dedicated to calibration, the exercises can begin. “It’s about making mimicry work. The screen shows a movement, for example clenching his fist, and the patient will try to reproduce the exercise. The repetition of the video will have the effect of stimulating the brain to reproduce the movement. We do not get immediate results, but by dint of repeating the sessions several times a day, the patients see progress. Of course, this program complements other exercises”, explains the occupational therapist who recalls that this type of therapy was already used with a mirror. The technological addition here makes it possible to add motor imagery and the observation of
TOWARDS HOPE ALSO FOR WALKING
This mental representation technique is currently used in more than 150 hospitals around the world. But Destiny, which named its technology IVS (Intensive visual simulation), has just taken a new step in this field. Last September, the company presented an adapted version to learn to walk again. “Up to 50% of stroke victims leave the rehabilitation center in a wheelchair, and only 10% regain the ability to walk outdoors alone and without technical assistance,” says Destiny.
Here again, the screen overlaps and gives the patient the illusion that his own legs are walking. By dint of repetition of the exercises, the brain thus deceived manages to stimulate the limbs.
“Vision plays a critical role in the early stages of reconstructing body image and motor control. With this intense immersion, this IVS technology allows the patient to reintegrate a healthy functional limb and to focus on the representation of the analytical movement”, concludes Nicolas Fournier, CEO of Destiny.