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Glove with Sensors Measures Spasticity More Accurately than Physicians

April 24, 2017

A multidisciplinary team at the University of California at San Diego has developed a computerized glove used as a sensor to measure spasticity, or stiffness, in the limbs of patients with multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and stroke. According to the team, the system is more accurate than physicians’ assessments of spasticity through touching, but it still needs work.

Inaccurate measurements of spasticity can lead to patients receiving too little or too much medication for spasticity, which can mean an ineffective treatment or wasted money on high doses that are not needed.

Physicians assess spasticity on the basis of how much resistance they feel when moving a patient’s limbs, and results can vary greatly from one physician to another. It works by a doctor wearing the glove. The sensors are connected to a computer that calculates the amount of power needed to move a limb. The goal of using a glove with sensors is to have an objective, accurate, and consistent measure of spasticity.


Studies were conducted to test out the glove. One of them involved assessing spasticity in five cerebral palsy patients, which resulted into only 27% of their spasticity ratings agreeing with each other. The glove was also tested with a robotic system called a mock patient. Researchers found that the mock patient results agreed with the glove results in 64% of cases. Research scientists need these numbers to be higher if they want the system to be utilized in hospitals. However, it is showing positive results.

The team also believes that the technology can be applied to other procedures that rely on a doctor’s touch and feel to asses a patient’s condition, such as physical therapy, monitoring of spine health, and assessing the severity of hip dislocation in infants.

Via MS News Today