Date of Award

Spring 2009

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Schmit, Brian D.

Second Advisor

Scheidt, Robert

Third Advisor

Beardsley, Scott


Each year approximately half of the 630,000 stroke survivors experience hemiparesis (AHA, 2008). In the arm, hemiparesis causes difficulty moving, stabilizing, grasping and manipulating objects and decreases the stroke survivor's level of independence by affecting activities of daily living. The fact that 50% of stroke survivors are unable to return to work (Vestling, 2003) is compelling evidence that further research regarding therapeutic applications for improving arm movement could greatly enhance the quality of life after a stroke. This dissertation illustrates the ability to manipulate sensory input from the arm musculature to improve stability in the hemiparetic arm. The results of the studies will demonstrate that altered sensory input can enhance upper extremity function by exploiting the neural coupling of distal sensory feedback to proximal motor control of the arm. Thus, the general hypothesis guiding this research is that tendon vibration, applied distally at the wrist musculature, can improve proximal limb stabilization in the hemiparetic arm...



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