US pioneer sees his robot at work

Dr Hermano Igo Krebs, Dr Helen Rodgers, patient Lesley Rodgers and Helen Bosomworth, project manager for the study.
Dr Hermano Igo Krebs, Dr Helen Rodgers, patient Lesley Rodgers and Helen Bosomworth, project manager for the study.
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A leading American scientist who has pioneered stroke robot technology has visited staff and patients at North Tyneside General Hospital.

Dr Hermano Igo Krebs, principal research scientist and lecturer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has led the development of stroke rehabilitation robots over many years.

we hope to see similar results here in the UK over the next five years thanks to the NHS research

Dr Hermano Igo Krebs

Last year North Tyneside General Hospital became the first in England to house two of his ‘rehabilitation robots’.

During his visit, Dr Krebs met governors, staff and patients, joined by Dr Helen Rodgers, consultant stroke physician at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

Dr Krebs said: “The technology we have developed at MIT is helping many stroke patients and people with other neurological conditions in the US on their road to recovery and we hope to see similar results here in the UK over the next five years thanks to the NHS research taking place.”

“Using robotic technology, our aim is to give clinicians the tools they need to facilitate the best possible functional recovery for their patients and hopefully regain as much movement as possible in their arm.

“Not only can we better understand what’s going on inside the brain, but it also gives us a much better source of reliable data which we can then use to further refine and customise robotic therapy to suit individual patient needs.”

Dr Rodgers, who is also Professor of stroke care at the Institute of Neuroscience at Newcastle University, said: “We are delighted to welcome Igo to the north east to see first-hand the stroke research taking place using his very own rehabilitative robot technology.

“Since launching our UK clinical trials just over a year ago we have recruited almost 200 patients to take part in the robot research and are well on track to meet our target of working with 700 patients over the course of the research programme.

“We have been working closely with colleagues in Massachusetts over many years and if the UK research is shown to be effective, it has the potential to revolutionise how we provide rehabilitation in the NHS for people who have suffered a stroke.”

Each year 110,000 people in the UK have a stroke and many have long-term problems moving or feeling their affected arm.

Rehabilitation with physiotherapy and occupational therapy starting as soon as possible after a stroke is currently the best way to maximise the amount of movement people eventually regain.