The new study has been launched to find out how the use of a metronome, a device used by musicians to keep to a beat, could aid stroke patients.
According to the Department of Health every year approximately 110,000 people in England have a stroke, which is the single largest cause of adult disability.
About 80% of people who have had a stroke suffer a degree of muscle weakness associated with one side, which could lead to an uneven walking pattern.
Dr Rachel Wright, Post Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham’ s School of Psychology, said: “An uneven walk can lead to a greater risk of a fall, and once someone has suffered a fall they can be fearful of falling again. This can prevent people from participating in activities that they once enjoyed because they are so worried about falling over.
“Through this research we hope to look at how the use of a metronome can help to regulate a stroke patient’s walk and help them to achieve symmetry.”
Dr Wright is carrying out the research using the University of Worcester’s state-of-the-art Motion Performance Centre. Participants are analysed using the latest motion capture equipment to analyse how they walk before and after the introduction of a regular beat.
“This is a three-year project funded by The Stroke Association,” said Dr Wright. “We hope that the results will be used to design a home-based exercise programme which stroke survivors can use as part of their rehabilitation.”
Dr Wright is currently looking for stroke survivors to assist in the research and would like to hear from anyone in the Worcester area who is willing to take part.
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For further information
Kate Chapple, Press Officer, University of Birmingham, tel 0121 414 2772 or 07789 921164