Bionic Leg Attachment Helping Stroke Patients to Walk Again

Scientists in Britain are using robotic technology to get stroke survivors back on their feet.

At Britain's University of Portsmouth, stroke sufferers have new hope thanks to bionic leg attachments that are helping them walk again.

During a 10-week study program, dozens of people who experienced strokes and were unable to get back on their feet were fitted with a bionic limb over their affected leg.

A 3-D digital camera tracked what happened when the wearer tried to walk.

"We saw confidence increase, we saw walking ability increase and therefore daily step count and activity increase from there for that group," said Amy Wright, a biomechanics expert at the university.

Using the bionic leg, along with traditional treatment and physical therapy, greatly quickened the recovery process, Wright said.

One patient confined to a wheelchair was ultimately able to walk unassisted on his own two legs.

"By the end of the 10-week program, he was able to walk around his home without a stick and no one around," Wright said.

The cost of robotic devices is beginning to drop, scientists said, as acceptance of home-based, high-tech treatment is increasing.

Larger clinical trials are planned by researchers to further explore which bionic devices are of greatest help to stroke patients.

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