Published date
Friday, 23 October, 2015

Yesterday, a special event was held at Queen's Hospital, Romford to showcase its Robotic Assisted Training for the Upper Limb after Stroke (RATULS).  

The RATULS trial is comparing the i) use of robotic training of the upper limb after stroke, with ii) an enhanced upper limb therapy programme consisting of repeated practice of everyday activities using the arm and, and ii) usual NHS rehabilitation.

The event was an opportunity to hear from some of the experts working on RATULS, meet patients who had completed trials, and for colleagues involved and interested in this area of research to network and share knowledge.

Michael Ly, Stroke Analyst at the Stroke Association trying out the InMotion robotic gym used in RATULS

The event kicked off with an introduction to the work of the Barking, Havering and Redbridge Universities Trust (BHRUT) by Dr Sreeman Andole, its Divisional Director of Specialist Medicine and Clinical Lead for Stroke and Research.

Professor Helen Rodgers, Clinical Professor of Stroke Care at Newcastle University, and who leads the RATULS trial, then shared that 80% of stroke survivors with lower limb problems are able to walk again, but only 30-50% of stroke survivors with upper limb problems regain full arm function. She also emphasised how successful rehabilitation is based on four things: intensity, repetitive practice, meaningful tasks and early intervention. Her team are also monitoring if the use of the robot has any detrimental outcomes.

Karen Dunne, Lead Stroke Research Nurse at Queen's Hospital [Barking, Havering and Redbridge Universities Trust (BHRUT)] shared details of the reruitment criteria and process involved in RATULS. She shared how people are eligible to take part up to five years after having their stroke, and that although there may be some challenges, severely disabled patients and those with aphasia are not excluded from the trial.

Lastly, Professor Duncan Turner, of the NeuroRehabilitation Unit, University of East London, presented the results from some patients who had taken part in RATULS so far. Using radar charts he charted the improvement in fine movement control in these patients before and after the RATULS intervention.

Attendees were then given the exciting opportunity of trying out the robots used in RATULS for themselves.

RATULS is taking place at four sites in the UK:

  • North Tyneside General Hospital
  • Western Infirmary Glasgow
  • Northwick Park
  • Queens Hospital, Romford

Visit the RATULS trial website to find out more.

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