Recent neurological research indicates that the impaired motor skills of post-stroke patients can be enhanced and possibly restored through task-oriented repetitive training.
This is due to neuroplasticity – the ability of the brain to change through adulthood. Various rehabilitation processes have been developed to take advantage of neuroplasticity to retrain neural pathways and restore or improve motor skills lost as a result of stroke or spinal cord injuries (SCI).
Research in this area over the last few decades has resulted in a better understanding of the dynamics of rehabilitation in post-stroke patients and development of auxiliary devices and tools to induce repeated targeted body movements. With the growing number of stroke rehabilitation therapies, the application of robotics within the rehabilitation process has received much attention. As such, numerous mechanical and robot-assisted upper limb and hand function training devices have been proposed.
A systematic review of robotic-assisted upper extremity (UE) motion rehabilitation therapies was carried out in this study. The strengths and limitations of each method and its effectiveness in arm and hand function recovery were evaluated. The study provides a comparative analysis of the latest developments and trends in this field, and assists in identifying research gaps and potential future work.