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Two Magee Rehabilitation Hospital Stroke Patients Benefit from Constraint Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT)

JAMA Article Supports CIMT's Success in Improving Movement and Function in Stroke Survivors

In the November 1, 2006, issue of the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), a seven-center national study led by Emory University researchers found that an innovative rehabilitative technique that entails restraining a stroke survivor's paralyzed arm is effective. Constraint Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT) includes using an immobilizing mitt on a patient's less-impaired hand to encourage the use of the paralyzed extremity. Patients engage in daily repetitive tasks such as typing, picking up objects, turning a doorknob, or pouring a drink.

Two stroke survivors receiving therapy at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital's Riverfront Outpatient Center, located in South Philadelphia, didn't need to read the JAMA article to learn about the benefits of CIMT. John Ranonis of Philadelphia, Pa. , and Suzanne Carlson of Gullford, Conn., have seen significant improvements since they began the three-week program at Magee.

Kathleen Ranonis' husband John experienced a massive stroke in December 2002 following open heart surgery. He had paralysis in the left side of his body. After participating in the CIMT program, he began to regain some mobility and function in his left hand.

"As early as halfway through the CIMT program, my husband John was adding daily incidences of quality usage with his left hand," says Kathleen. "We are both thrilled with the results that he has been able to achieve through participation in this challenging, but so very worthwhile program."

Carlson had a stroke in July 2006. When she started the CIMT program at Magee, her expectations were limited, but her outlook soon changed.

"The CIMT program is very intense and hard work," she says. "In the beginning of this three-week program, I did not expect to get all the function back in my left arm. However, this program has definitely helped me to increase my left hand ability and has provided a springboard for greater improvements in the future. The skills we learned during this program must be continued for ultimate success. The therapists at Magee gave us encouragement, compassion and top-notch professionalism which are so important."

Patients who could be considered to participate in the CIMT program at Magee include those with a diagnosis of stroke or traumatic brain injury (TBI). Participants must be at least six months post stroke/TBI, have decreased ability to use their arm, have caregiver support, and be medically and behaviorally stable. Additionally, patients must be able to attend the program three times a week for five hours a day. Patients will need to wear a restraining device on their non-affected limb during therapy sessions as well as at home.


Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, founded in 1958, is a 96-bed specialty medical rehabilitation hospital providing physical and cognitive rehabilitation services. Magee’s flagship facility is located in Center City Philadelphia. In addition to the main campus that offers comprehensive services for spinal cord injury, brain injury, stroke, orthopedic replacement, amputation, pain management and work injury, Magee provides an expanding out-patient network serving the surrounding communities. In 1985, Magee’s brain injury rehabilitation program became the first in the nation to be accredited by the Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. Magee partnered with Jefferson Hospital to create one of the nation’s 14 federally designated centers for spinal cord injury rehabilitation. Magee has been rated one of America’s leading rehabilitation hospitals by U.S. News&World Report. Magee provides treatment to more than 5,000 individuals annually. Magee is authorized to treat wounded military personnel returning from war. Magee is not an Obligated Group Affiliate.

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