Patients of stroke, brain trauma, spinal injuries, Amytrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease and muscular dystrophy may be able to regain substantial mobility with high-intensity neuro-rehabilitation, said Professor Dr Andreas Luft, neurologist from Zurich University.

Neuro-rehabilitation could help them relearn walking skills by stimulating other nerve cells in the brain to take over, Dr Luft said.

He was speaking at the inauguration of August Medical Cereneo, the region’s first neuro-rehabilitation clinic that uses modern robotic technology, bionics and use of exoskeletons to help patients get back the use of their arms and legs.

Strokes are a major cause of physical debilitation among UAE resident from the age of 45 onwards and rehabilitation of stroke patients is a challenge.

This is the first outpatient clinic in the UAE to make use of the latest robotics technology training to help patients relearn walking by activating nerve cells in the brain.

“Rehabilitation is a big field and we have orthopaedic, cardiac and now neurological rehabilitation. The main clinic in Switzerland works on at least 50 patients in a year, specifically tailoring the programme to the needs of the patient. We first stabilise the trunk portion of the body, strengthening muscles and nerves around the waist, hips and thorax then we move towards strengthening the legs. For a patient who is completely immobilised following brain trauma, we use robotics and the exoskeleton to exercise the body and limbs until other nerve cells take over, after which we take away the robotic action. The training is intense and progressive and in cases of Parkinson’s, it helps stabilise the patient. In cases of ALS and muscular dystrophy, we try and provide the muscles strength for as long as possible as it is a progressively degenerating disease,” said Dr Luft who added that the best results were seen in stroke patients.

“But a lot depends on the motivation of the patient and the intensity he or she is prepared to put himself through,” added Dr Luft who has been able to restore mobility in many stroke and spinal injury patients.

Through the strategic partnership of August Medical, local experts in various medical fields and Cereneo, one of the global leaders in neuro-rehabilitation, people recovering from strokes, brain injuries or other neurological illnesses will have access to the highest standards of rehabilitative care available in the UAE.

Gulf News

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