Smart phone technology helps stroke survivors walk again

We use our smartphones for almost everything these days from talking to texting, and finding directions to playing games.

Now cell phone technology is being tested in a new way, to try and help stroke survivors learn how to walk again.

Dr. Stephen Page with Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center says, "This is the first time this technology has ever been used in stroke anywhere in the country or anywhere else in the world."

Dr. Stephen page is leading this innovative study.  

Here's how it works. Therapists strap small sensors onto the legs, arms and chest of a patient, then sync them to a computer.

Those sensors, the same as in smart phones, talk to each other - keeping track of where they are and what direction they're moving.

Dr. Page says, "It's the same technology you use when you're playing a video game or when you're taking your cell phone and turning it upside down or turning it sideways, and the picture adjusts to that."

Only here, the sensors chart every move during therapy, logging how well a patient is moving their arms and legs.

There are sophisticated programs that use similar technology, but they require rooms full of high-tech equipment.

This is different. Dr. Page says, "The nice thing about this technology, is we can do it anywhere. We can do it up steps, we can do it in a kitchen anywhere that walking or balance is important is a place we can capture how well the person is moving."

It's a concept that's not lost on Kelly Franklin, a stroke survivor who knows the struggles of therapy first hand and how much further technology can take her.

"I couldn't even sit up straight, I couldn't even sit up about a year and a half ago."

Now she's gotten rid of a wheelchair and a walker and is looking forward to someday losing her cane, as well.

Researchers say the cell phone technology could someday allow patients to do some physical therapy at home.

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