Automated treadmill rebuilds muscles after stroke

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Treadmill training with assistance of robot-driven leg supports, a device called the Lokomat, helps build muscle mass in partially paralyzed stroke patients, German researchers report in the February issue of Stroke.
Dr. Britta Husemann and colleagues at the Neurology Hospital Bad Aibling note that the success of physical rehabilitation after a stroke depends on active walking exercises. However, the disabling after-effects of stroke often initially make such exercises impossible.

The Lokomat, they explain, was developed to facilitate treadmill training in paraplegic patients. The device "assists walking movements of gait-impaired patients on the treadmill," and it is "adjustable in force, body weight support, and speed, so that even severely handicapped patients can exercise in an environment delivering as much challenge as can be handled