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Mittens 'may help stroke recovery'

22nd February 2006

Binding the 'good' arm of a stroke victim and placing it in a mitten may help their recovery, a stroke researcher has reported.

Dr Steven Wolf found that by forcing stroke victims to use their 'bad' arm, it aided recovery and allowed patients to perform everyday tasks much quicker than normal.

"About 23 to 30 percent of the stroke population would appear to benefit from this kind of treatment," said Dr Wolf. Patients who had their 'good' arm bound showed greater movement in their impaired arm than those who did not have theirs constrained.

The new treatment is called constraint therapy and does not involve any drugs or surgery that may involve negative side-effects.

Dr Wolf presented his findings at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2006 in Florida, where it was also announced that stroke risk in the US had decreased from 19.5 per cent in 1950 to 1978 to 13.3 per cent in 1990 to 2004.

The study was conducted on 222 patients and Dr Wolf plans to publish the results of his research in the near future.

One task in the study involved answering a phone, where after six weeks one patient showed "significant" improvement in doing so.