A newly developed glove could give doctors the ability to more accurately treat patients with conditions ranging from strokes to muscle disorders. Jane Ross reports.
This newly developed glove could give doctors the ability to more accurately treat patients with conditions ranging from strokes to muscle disorders. Mike Crossley has cerebral palsy - a condition he has lived with since birth. One of the main symptoms of the disease is muscle stiffness. And up until now doctors used a physical examination to assess the degree of his muscle stiffness to decide on medications and therapies. But according to Dr. Andrew Skalsky, a touch and feel exam provides inconsistent and often inaccurate results. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DR. ANDREW SKALSKY, DIRECTOR OF THE DIVISION OF REHABILITATION MEDICINE AT RADY CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL "It's a very subjective process. And when you're trying to remember from time to time it might be three months since we last saw that patient. And so we're like are they a little better a little worse. And the scale is just not good enough to differentiate that. And so they might be a lot better. But their number on the scale is no different." This is where the glove comes in. It's packed with finely tuned sensors that measure the force and speed needed to move a patient's limbs, far more accurately than a conventional examination. Harinath Garudadri is developing the technology. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HARINATH GARUDADRI, A RESEARCH SCIENTIST AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SAN DIEGO'S QUALCOMM INSTITUTE, SAYING: "This technology will provide objective metrics that they can refine their diagnosis and refine their interventions." Researchers say the high-tech glove could potentially be used in other cases that rely on a doctor's touch and feel to assess a patient's condition. The scientists are still working on the glove but the hope is that, in the not too distant future, doctors will have a new tool to better diagnose and treat their patients.