Tailwind device helps retrain brain of stroke victims
Posted:  04/14/2009 6:03 AM
By Meredith Cohn
The Baltimore Sun

BALTIMORE -- After Norris Turner's stroke a decade ago, he would tuck his right arm into his pocket to get the nearly useless limb out of the way. Now the 68-year-old from suburban Columbia can use the arm to play catch with his grandson and hit a golf ball nearly 100 feet.

Turner's progress has made him something of a poster child for a machine called the Tailwind. It's licensed and for sale by researchers from the University of Maryland who invented it and a local entrepreneur who believed it could help patients like Turner.

"We think there is tremendous potential for this device," says Sandy McCombe Waller, who worked on the Tailwind with colleague Jill Whitall. Both are professors in the University of Maryland School of Medicine's Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science. Turner was a test subject.

"Mr. Turner didn't start high functioning but has been able to return to recreational activities," she says.