US scientists at the Shirley Ryan ability laboratory have developed wearable sensors that could help speed up the recovery of stroke patients.

The electronic sensors, a high-tech trial, designed to be worn on the throat, can send information continuously to the patient’s doctors or therapists.

The doctors use the information received to monitor the patients’ heart rate, speech patterns and swallowing ability.

With continuous readings, doctors and therapists can monitor their patients’ progress at home and can target treatment or therapy to specifically improve muscles affected by stroke.

John Rogers, a professor at Northwestern University, says the sensors are “almost mechanically imperceptible to the patient who is wearing the device.

“Stretchable electronics allow us to see what is going on inside patients’ bodies at a level traditional wearables simply cannot achieve. The key is to make them as integrated as possible with the human body.

“Our sensors solve that problem by measuring vibrations of the vocal cords,” Rogers said. “But they only work when worn directly on the throat, which is a very sensitive area of the skin. We developed novel materials for this sensor that bend and stretch with the body, minimizing discomfort to patients.

“You can embed all sorts of advanced sensor functionality, microprocessor, computing capability, radio, power supplies into this very unusual platform, and that is the uniqueness of what we do.”

The scientists believe once they have more information on stroke recovery, their study could transform the future of treatment.



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