[ARTICLE] Self-Paced Reaching after Stroke: A Quantitative Assessment of Longitudinal and Directional Sensitivity Using the H-Man Planar Robot for Upper Limb Neurorehabilitation

Technology aided measures offer a sensitive, accurate and time-efficient approach for the assessment of sensorimotor function after neurological insult compared to standard clinical assessments. This study investigated the sensitivity of robotic measures to capture differences in planar reaching movements as a function of neurological status (stroke, healthy), direction (front, ipsilateral, contralateral), movement segment (outbound, inbound), and time (baseline, post-training, 2-week follow-up) using a planar, two-degrees of freedom, robotic-manipulator (H-Man). Twelve chronic stroke (age: 55±10.0 years, 5 female, 7 male, time since stroke: 11.2±6.0 months) and nine aged-matched healthy participants (age: 53±4.3 years, 5 female, 4 male) participated in this study. Both healthy and stroke participants performed planar reaching movements in contralateral, ipsilateral and front directions with the H-Man, and the robotic measures, spectral arc length (SAL), normalized time to peak velocities 〖(T〗_peakN), and root-mean square error (RMSE) were evaluated. Healthy participants went through a one-off session of assessment to investigate the baseline. Stroke participants completed a 2-week intensive robotic training plus standard arm therapy (8 x 90 minute sessions). Motor function for stroke participants was evaluated prior to training (baseline, week-0), immediately following training (post-training, week-2), and 2-weeks after training (follow-up, week-4) using robotic assessment and the clinical measures Fugl-Meyer Assessment (FMA), Activity-Research-Arm Test (ARAT), and grip-strength. Robotic assessments were able to capture differences due to neurological status, movement direction, and movement segment. Movements performed by stroke participants were less-smooth, featured longer T_peakN, and larger RMSE values, compared to healthy controls. Significant movement direction differences were observed, with improved reaching performance for the front, compared to ipsilateral and contralateral movement directions. There were group differences depending on movement segment. Outbound reaching movements were smoother and featured longer T_peakN values than inbound movements for control participants, whereas SAL, T_peakN, and RMSE values were similar regardless of movement segment for stroke patients. Significant change in performance was observed between initial and post assessments using H-Man in stroke participants, compared to conventional scales which showed no significant difference. Results of the study indicate the potential of H-Man as a sensitive tool for tracking changes in performance compared to ordinal scales (i.e. FM, ARAT).

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Continue —> Frontiers | Self-Paced Reaching after Stroke: A Quantitative Assessment of Longitudinal and Directional Sensitivity Using the H-Man Planar Robot for Upper Limb Neurorehabilitation | Neural Technology

Figure 1. (Left) Cad model of H-Man, a compact robot designed for the rehabilitation/training of the upper-limb. (Middle) A Stroke Participant using H-Man in Hospital. (Right) Representation of visual stimuli used for the assessment using H-Man.

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