After a stroke, a patient's life depends on getting acute care at a hospital. Continued monitoring of the patient’s vital signs and brain function are crucial. More imaging and scans are required if the specialists suspect more brain damage due to another stroke. However, "right now, acute stroke units do not feature an imaging system. Having a system right at a patient's bedside would be a notable benefit for physicians," says Dr. Matthias Gräser in a MEDICA-tradefair.com interview.
He is developing a compact system that is designed to close this gap since transporting the patient from the intensive care unit to radiology can be a complex endeavor and is not without risk. Gräser and his team at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf and the Technical University of Hamburg focus on a Magnetic Particle Imaging (MPI) solution, which does not expose the patient to ionizing radiation and requires only small amounts of contrast medium. The MPI method also has low magnetic fields compared to the strength of an MRI machine. The system is designed to enable bedside monitoring.
Patients should ideally already embark on rehabilitation during their inpatient hospital stay. This is yet another great way to make better use of valuable time by utilizing the brain's plasticity. It can compensate for the post-stroke loss of function through the limited creation of new nerve cells or by prompting surviving nerve cells to take on other functions. Movement and speech difficulties can be improved with the help of physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists.
Having said that, the success of post-stroke rehabilitation is often impeded since there are not enough therapists that support the patient in performing the exercises. If patients are asked to exercise on their own, they tend to quickly lose interest due to monotony. Sometimes patients also perform the exercises incorrectly and make mistakes. Robots can assist patients by guiding their limbs. Gamification, an approach that uses computer games to train motor sequences and cognitive skills on a PC, tablet or via AR and VR devices, ensures that rehabilitation is more fun and motivating. Robots and games never get tired or inattentive and patiently assist in correcting exercise mistakes.