An update on the AMES device

AMES is an intervention that works on the severely impaired population because it treats impairments rather than mimicking functional retraining, like other robotic devices. People with severe chronic motor disability have an opportunity to recover some normal function. Current research shows that muscle vibration can help the brain “locate” the muscles controlling the joint, to reduce joint tightness, and to enhance sensation at the treated joint or joints. This enhanced sensation is thought to help the brain re-establish communication with the affected muscles.

Update from June 2013

Assisted movement with proprioceptive stimulation reduces impairment and restores function in incomplete spinal cord injury.


AMES Strength Test scores improved significantly in MCP flexion (p=0.024) and extension (p=0.0067), and wrist flexion (p=0.001) and extension (p<0.000). AMES Active Motion scores improved in the hand (p=0.001) and wrist (p=0.001). The MAS and ISNCSCI scores remained unchanged. GRT scores increased (p=0.025). Post-hoc analysis showed a trend from pre- to post-treatment (p=0.068), and a significant change from pre-treatment to 3-month follow-up (p=0.046). There was no significant change in the VLT (p=0.951) or the CUE (p=0.164). Five of ten participants reported a return of 3 sensation to the digits after the first, second or third treatment session.


People with chronic, incomplete tetraplegia may experience improvements 25 in impairments and function after treatment on a device combining assisted movement 6 and proprioceptive stimulation. Further investigation is warranted.

A series of clinical studies with the AMES Device were conducted at multiple sites across the United States, some with chronic and sub-acute stroke patients and some with chronic spinal cord injury victims. These studies have provided clinical evidence that the AMES approach improves movement and strength in people with injuries to the brain and spinal cord, in some cases restoring the ability to carry out independent activities that were previously unattainable. The studies included treating the arm, hand and the leg. Most of the participants who were enrolled in these studies were considered to be very disabled when they started AMES treatment.

While the device cannot regain movement for certain types of central nervous system injuries and diseases, such as where the spinal cord is completely severed, the device can assist in regaining some movement in a large number of patients.

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