Archive for October, 2017

[WEB SITE] Wristband devices may improve detection and characterization of epileptic seizures

New research published in Epilepsia (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1528-1167), a journal of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE), indicates that wristband devices may improve the detection and characterization of seizures in patients with epilepsy.

New devices are needed for monitoring epileptic seizures, especially those that can lead to sudden death. While rare, “sudden unexpected death in epilepsy” (SUDEP) is the most common cause of death in epilepsy, and it often occurs at night. The gold standard for monitoring seizures-video-electroencephalography- is available in epilepsy monitoring units but is an impractical procedure for daily life use. Therefore, clinicians often rely on patients and caregivers to report seizure counts, which are often inaccurate.

In their attempts to develop a better monitoring method, Giulia Regalia, PhD and Francesco Onorati, PhD, of Empatica Inc. in Milan, Italy and Cambridge, Massachusetts, and their colleagues examined the potential of automated, wearable systems to detect and characterize convulsive epileptic seizures. The researchers used three different wristbands to record two signals-called electrodermal activity and accelerometer signals-that usually exhibit marked changes upon the onset of convulsive seizures, obtaining 5928 hours of data from 69 patients, including 55 convulsive epileptic seizures from 22 patients.

The wristband detectors showed high sensitivity (95% of seizures were detected) while keeping the false alarm rate at a bearable level (on average, one false alarm every four days), which improves a pioneering 2012 study led by MIT professor Rosalind Picard, now chief scientist at Empatica.

In addition to detecting seizures, the method also revealed certain characteristics of the seizures, which may help alert clinicians and patients to seizures that are potentially dangerous and life-threatening.

“The present work provides significant improvements for convulsive seizure detection both in clinical and ambulatory real-life settings,” said Dr. Regalia. “Accurate seizure counts with real-time alerts to caregivers allows an early application of aid, which can be protective against SUDEP risk.” She noted that the wristband detectors do not require caregivers to be near patients continuously, which could significantly improve patients and caregivers’ quality of life.

Source: Wristband devices may improve detection and characterization of epileptic seizures

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[Abstract] Sensing motion and muscle activity for feedback control of functional electrical stimulation: Ten years of experience in Berlin

Abstract

After complete or partial paralysis due to stroke or spinal cord injury, electrical nerve stimulation can be used to artificially generate functional muscle contractions. This technique is known as Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES). In combination with appropriate sensor technology and feedback control, FES can be empowered to elicit also complex functional movements of everyday relevance. Depending on the degree and phase of impairment, the goal may be temporary support in a rehabilitation phase, e.g. during re-learning of gait after a stroke, or permanent replacement/support of lost motor functions in form of assistive devices often referred to as neuro-prostheses.

In this contribution a number of real-time capable and portable approaches for sensing muscle contractions and motions are reviewed that enable the realization of feedback control schemes. These include inertial measurement units (IMUs), electromyography (EMG), and bioimpedance (BI). This contribution further outlines recent concepts for movement control, which include e.g. cascaded control schemes. A fast inner control loop based on the FES-evoked EMG directly controls the amount of recruited motor units. The design and validation of various novel FES systems are then described that support cycling, walking, reaching, and swallowing. All methods and systems have been developed at the Technische Universität Berlin by the Control Systems Group within the last 10 years in close cooperation with clinical and industrial partners.

Source: Sensing motion and muscle activity for feedback control of functional electrical stimulation: Ten years of experience in Berlin – ScienceDirect

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[WEB SITE] The Most Common Stroke Questions, Answered – Saebo

 

 

A stroke can be a serious and frightening medical emergency that has a huge impact on both stroke patients and their families. Strokes are life-changing events, but many stroke patients and those who care for them don’t know much about the nature of strokes and the recovery process. In order to properly handle the aftermath of a stroke, it’s important to be well-informed. Knowing more about strokes and how to recover from them is a key step in assuaging any fears and concerns that stem from this condition.

We collected some of the most common questions people have about stroke recovery and created this resource. Below are short answers to these questions as well as links to resources that answer the questions in more depth. For more information on strokes, visit the Saebo blog, where we go into more detail on these and other topics.

Answers to the Most Common Stroke Questions

How do you identify a stroke?

The earlier you can recognize that you or a loved one are having a stroke, the better. It’s easy to identify a stroke by remembering the “F.A.S.T.” acronym.

F: Face drooping. During a stroke, one side of the face can become numb or droop. This can cause a person’s smile to appear uneven.

A: Arm weakness. A stroke will cause weakness in one arm or a feeling of numbness. If you ask a person who is having a stroke to raise both of their arms, one will drift downward.

S: Speech difficulty. Someone who is having a stroke will probably not be able to speak properly. Their words will be slurred, or it will be hard to understand them. They often will struggle to repeat a simple sentence.

T: Time to call 911. If a friend or loved one is exhibiting any of these symptoms, call 911 and get to a hospital. Don’t hesitate! Even if only some of the symptoms are present, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Be sure to take note of the time that the stroke symptoms started to show, even if they end up going away.

 

How are strokes treated?

Whether a stroke is minor or severe, the most important part of the treatment process is to seek help as soon as possible. The more quickly you seek help, the better chance there is of reducing long-term damage. Depending on the type of stroke, treatment can include a variety of therapies, medications, or, in extreme cases, surgery.

 

Are strokes hereditary?

It does seem that genetics can play a role in the risk for strokes. Some of the conditions that can lead to stroke have hereditary links, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. If these conditions run in your family, there is a chance that you share those risk factors.

Even if these risk factors don’t run in your family, if you have a parent who has suffered a stroke, research has shown that you are more likely to have a stroke yourself. According to a study conducted by Boston University, children of individuals who had strokes before age 65 were two times more likely to have a stroke at some point in their lives and four times more likely of having a stroke by age 65, when compared to study participants whose parents had not experienced a stroke.

 

Can stroke patients recover fully?

Yes, it is possible to recover completely from a stroke. Of all stroke patients, 10 percent will make a full recovery, while 25 percent will recover with minor impairments. Some patients (40 percent) will require special care due to more severe impairments, and 10 percent of individuals who had a stroke will need a nursing home or long-term care facility. Unfortunately, 15 percent of stroke patients die after their stroke.

Strokes have a big impact on the brain and nervous system, and parts of the brain can experience cell damage. Fortunately, the damage is sometimes temporary, and even in cases where the stroke permanently kills brain cells, healthy areas of the brain have been known to take over for the damaged portions. This type of recovery varies from patient to patient and cannot be predicted, but even stroke patients with severe damage sometimes make unexpected recoveries. Rehabilitation and therapy can help the recovery process both physically and mentally.

 

How long does it take to recover from a stroke?

Most stroke patients will need some form of rehabilitation, and the recovery timeline varies by the individual. Some stroke patients recover rather quickly, but if the stroke or the related complications were severe, it can take months or years. The rehab process will change over time depending on the particular patient’s needs and progress.

 

How can stroke patients reduce spasticity?

Spasticity—the stiffness or tightness of the muscles that often occurs after a stroke—can be treated through therapy or surgery, depending on the severity of the problem. Minor spasticity can be controlled with oral or injectable medications and stretching, while other cases may require orthoses (braces) or casting. Dynamic splints like the SaeboStretch are important to help prevent spasticity. They are designed to relieve pressure on joints and provide a prolonged muscle stretch. Some medical professionals also recommend electrotherapeutics or cryotherapy to reduce spasticity, and in extreme cases, surgery is an option.

 

Why are stroke survivors so tired after their stroke?

Post-stroke fatigue is a common complication for stroke patients. This type of fatigue isn’t simply being tired; it can feel all-encompassing and overwhelming. Between the physical toll that a stroke takes on a person and the emotional factors that come with a stroke, it’s normal to feel constantly run-down. Scientists and doctors have not been able to pinpoint the exact reason why stroke patients feel this way, but it’s extremely common after a stroke, regardless of whether the stroke was mild or severe.

 

Can stress cause a stroke?

Yes, stress can absolutely be a contributing factor toward a stroke. While minor day-to-day stress will probably not increase your chance of a stroke, chronic or long-term stress very well could. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry found that individuals who reported chronic stress over the past year were four times more likely to have a stroke than those who did not have chronic stress in their lives.

 

Can a stroke cause paralysis?

Yes, a stroke can cause some degree of paralysis. It’s very common for a stroke patient to feel weakness or paralysis, usually on one side of the body. This phenomenon is known as hemiplegia or hemiparesis. If the stroke occurred in the left side of the brain (the part of the brain that controls language and memory), the patient will feel weakness or paralysis on their right side, while a stroke in the right side of the brain (the area of the brain that deals with nonverbal behavior and facial recognition) will result in paralysis or weakness on the left side of the body.

 

Can you recover from paralysis after a stroke?

Yes—through therapy and rehab, patients experiencing hemiplegia or hemiparesis can regain some of the motion and movement that they lost as a result of their stroke. There are a number of techniques that can combat post-stroke paralysis, including range-of-motion exercises, flexibility training, electrical stimulation, assistive devices, and more.

 

Why do stroke survivors have seizures after their stroke?
Just as physical wounds like cuts leave scars, a stroke can scar the brain. This impacts the electrical activity of the brain, sometimes leading to seizures. Seizures are more common in stroke patients who had a hemorrhagic (bleeding) stroke, as opposed to an ischemic stroke. Seizures are also more common after a stroke has occurred in the outer layer of brain tissue known as the cerebral cortex.

How can a caregiver keep a stroke survivor motivated?

Recovering from a stroke can feel daunting and overwhelming, and it can be hard for a stroke patient to find the motivation needed to recover. Stroke patients commonly suffer from apathy and depression. If you are a friend, family member, or caregiver of a stroke patient, do your best to keep them motivated and thinking positively. For tips on how to do so, be sure to check out our blog post on staying motivated through stroke recovery.

 

Can young people have strokes?

Contrary to popular belief, a person of any age can suffer from a stroke. This includes teenagers, children, and even infants. In fact, stroke is the sixth leading cause of death for children, although as children get older, their odds of suffering from a stroke decrease (the greatest chance of having a stroke is during a baby’s first year). Considering that people of all ages can have a stroke, it’s all the more important to know and recognize the warning signs.

 

How do strokes affect speech?

One of the most common side effects of a stroke is trouble with speech. Because a stroke can damage the part of the brain that deals with language, many stroke patients are left with difficulty speaking or comprehending speech. Even if the language area of the brain isn’t damaged by the stroke, the muscle weakness or paralysis that strokes often cause can still make it hard to speak if the face or mouth have been impacted.

 

You’re Not Alone

Suffering from a stroke is a scary situation. Stroke patients have many aspects of their lives turned upside-down. Though it can feel overwhelming at times, it’s important to know that if you or a loved one have suffered from a stroke, you’re not alone. One of the first steps toward successful recovery is knowing and understanding what you’re up against, and these answers to common stroke questions should serve as a good starting point. Be sure to visit our blog for more in-depth information—we’re here to help!


All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Reliance on any information provided by the Saebo website is solely at your own risk.

Source: The Most Common Stroke Questions, Answered | Saebo

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[ARTICLE] Driving with Hemianopia V: Do Individuals with Hemianopia Spontaneously Adapt Their Gaze Scanning to Differing Hazard Detection Demands?

Abstract

Purpose: We investigated whether people with homonymous hemianopia (HH) were able to spontaneously (without training or instructions) adapt their blind-side scan magnitudes in response to differing scanning requirements for detection of pedestrians in a driving simulator when differing cues about pedestrian eccentricities and movement behaviors were available in the seeing hemifield.

Methods: Twelve HH participants completed two sessions in a driving simulator pressing the horn when they detected a pedestrian. Stationary pedestrians outside the driving lane were presented in one session and approaching pedestrians on a collision course in the other. Gaze data were analyzed for pedestrians initially appearing at approximately 14° in the blind hemifield. No instructions were given regarding scanning.

Results: After appearing, the stationary pedestrians’ eccentricity increased rapidly to a median of 31° after 2.5 seconds, requiring increasingly larger blind-side gaze scans for detection, while the approaching pedestrians’ eccentricity remained constant at approximately 14°, requiring a more moderate scan (∼14°) for detection. Although median scan magnitudes did not differ between the two conditions (approaching: 14° [IQR 9°–15°]; stationary: 13° [IQR 9°–20°]; P= 0.43), three participants showed evidence of adapting (increasing) their blind-side scan magnitudes in the stationary condition.

Conclusions: Three participants (25%) appeared to be able to apply voluntary cognitive control to modify their blind-side gaze scanning in response to the differing scanning requirements of the two conditions without explicit training.

Translational Relevance: Our results suggest that only a minority of people with hemianopia are likely to be able to spontaneously adapt their blind-side scanning in response to rapidly changing and unpredictable situations in on-road driving.

 

Introduction
Homonymous hemianopia (HH) is the loss of half the field of vision on the same side in both eyes. It is caused by lesions in the postchiasmal visual pathways, primarily due to strokes and, to a lesser extent, trauma and tumors.1 People with HH may compensate for their hemifield loss by scanning using eye and/or head movements toward the blind hemifield. However, there is accumulating evidence2 that many do not compensate well leading to impaired hazard detection in simulated driving,38 in on-road driving,9 and in walking tasks.10
In order to see an object in the blind hemifield, people with complete HH need to scan at least as far into the blind hemifield as the location of the object. However, they receive no visual cues from peripheral vision as to when to scan or how far to scan into the blind hemifield. People with HH are usually aware of their visual field loss (unless they have spatial neglect) and could use voluntary, cognitive control to guide their blind-side scanning. For example, patients with HH may be trained or told to scan to the blind side in order to detect potential hazards.11 However, relatively little is known about the extent to which people with HH use such strategies in real world situations (e.g., driving2) or whether they are able to adapt their scanning patterns in response to differing conditions (e.g., a busy city-center street with frequent hazards versus a quiet rural road with infrequent hazards).
Only a limited number of studies have addressed the question of whether people with HH adapt their scanning strategies. A recent study using a gaze-contingent simulation of HH concluded that efficient search strategies were not spontaneously adopted by the majority of participants; however, a minority (4/20) did modify their search strategy in response to changing task demands. In general, a strategy of searching the seeing side before the blind side was adopted both for difficult search tasks in which each item needed to be viewed in a serial fashion as well as easier tasks in which the target was clearly visible in the periphery and a large saccade toward the blind side would have been the more efficient strategy. Only four participants modified their search to start from the blind field when the task was easy. In another study, Schuett et al.12reported that normally sighted participants with simulated HH became more efficient at a dot-counting task (an irregular array of dots) and a reading task after a short period of practice (∼15 minutes) on each of the tasks. However, in follow-up studies they found no evidence of transfer of learning (modification of gaze behaviors) between the two tasks, either for simulated HH13 or real HH13 (i.e., participants who practiced the dot-couting task did not demonstrate improvements on the reading task and vice versa).
In a study involving detection of peripherally presented moving basketballs within a virtual environment, participants with HH scanned less extensively in the horizontal plane and spent more time looking toward the ground when performing the task while walking than when seated.10 Thus, when walking, it appears that they modified their gaze behaviors in favor of walking, at the expense of peripheral target detection. In a driving simulator study3 involving detection of stationary pedestrians on the blind and seeing sides, no improvement in blind-side detection rates was found between two simulator sessions, approximately 1 week apart. These results suggested that no learning had occurred, despite 60 minutes of test drives at each session. Moreover, information was available in the seeing hemifield about pedestrian eccentricity, which could have been used as a guide for the scanning behaviors that were needed for detection of blind-side pedestrians. However, gaze movements were not recorded so it was unknown whether there were any changes in gaze behaviors.
In this paper, we report an analysis of gaze behaviors from a driving simulator study5 in which we evaluated detection performance of people with HH for pedestrians that were stationary to the side of the driving lane and pedestrians that approached the driving lane, walking or running on a collision course (detection rates and reaction time results were reported previously5). The scanning requirements for successful detection of blind-side pedestrians differed for the two pedestrian conditions, providing an opportunity to examine whether participants adapted their scanning behaviors. In the stationary condition the pedestrians did not move after appearing.3,5 Thus, their eccentricity increased rapidly as the car progressed, moving them farther into the blind hemifield, requiring increasingly larger gaze movements for detection. On the other hand, in the approaching condition, the pedestrians were on a collision course,5,14 so their eccentricity remained approximately constant as the car progressed. Thus, the magnitude of the gaze scan needed for detection would also have remained approximately constant, and smaller than the gaze scan needed in the stationary condition.
Herein, we address two main questions: (1) did participants with HH adapt their blind-side scan magnitudes (without training or instructions) to match the differing scanning requirements (pedestrian eccentricities) for successful blind-side detection in the stationary and approaching conditions; and (2) were the previously reported5 differences in blind-side detection rates between the two conditions accounted for by differences in the scanning requirements? We quantified the magnitudes of scans after the appearance of pedestrians in the blind hemifield and tested the hypothesis that blind-side scans would be larger in the stationary than the approaching condition. We expected to find greater evidence of within-session learning in the stationary condition (where scanning requirements were higher) than in the approaching condition. In addition, we tested the hypothesis that more time would be available after the pedestrian appearance for a moderate-sized gaze scan to reach the pedestrian in the approaching than the stationary condition, resulting in better detection rates but longer response times.[…]

Continue —> Driving with Hemianopia V: Do Individuals with Hemianopia Spontaneously Adapt Their Gaze Scanning to Differing Hazard Detection Demands? | TVST | ARVO Journals

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[Abstract+References] State-of-the-art robotic devices for ankle rehabilitation: Mechanism and control review

There is an increasing research interest in exploring use of robotic devices for the physical therapy of patients suffering from stroke and spinal cord injuries. Rehabilitation of patients suffering from ankle joint dysfunctions such as drop foot is vital and therefore has called for the development of newer robotic devices. Several robotic orthoses and parallel ankle robots have been developed during the last two decades to augment the conventional ankle physical therapy of patients. A comprehensive review of these robotic ankle rehabilitation devices is presented in this article. Recent developments in the mechanism design, actuation and control are discussed. The study encompasses robotic devices for treadmill and over-ground training as well as platform-based parallel ankle robots. Control strategies for these robotic devices are deliberated in detail with an emphasis on the assist-as-needed training strategies. Experimental evaluations of the mechanism designs and various control strategies of these robotic ankle rehabilitation devices are also presented.

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Source: State-of-the-art robotic devices for ankle rehabilitation: Mechanism and control reviewProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part H: Journal of Engineering in Medicine – Shahid Hussain, Prashant K Jamwal, Mergen H Ghayesh, 2017

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[ARTICLE] Brain lesions affecting gait recovery in stroke patients – Full Text

Abstract

Objectives

Gait recovery is an important goal in stroke patients. Several studies have sought to uncover relationships between specific brain lesions and the recovery of gait, but the effects of specific brain lesions on gait remain unclear. Thus, we investigated the effects of stroke lesions on gait recovery in stroke patients.

Materials and Methods

In total, 30 subjects with stroke were assessed in a retrograde longitudinal observational study. To assess gait function, the functional ambulation category (FAC) was tested four times: initially (within 2 weeks) and 1, 3, and 6 months after the onset of the stroke. Brain lesions were analyzed via overlap, subtraction, and voxel-based lesion symptom mapping (VLSM).

Results

Ambulation with FAC improved significantly with time. Subtraction analysis showed that involvement of the corona radiata, internal capsule, globus pallidus, and putamen were associated with poor recovery of gait throughout 6 months after onset. The caudate nucleus did influence poor recovery of gait at 6 months after onset. VLSM revealed that corona radiata, internal capsule, globus pallidus, putamen and cingulum were related with poor recovery of gait at 3 months after onset. Corona radiata, internal capsule, globus pallidus, putamen, primary motor cortex, and caudate nucleus were related with poor recovery of gait at 6 months after onset.

Conclusion

Results identified several important brain lesions for gait recovery in patients with stroke. These results may be useful for planning rehabilitation strategies for gait and understanding the prognosis of gait in stroke patients.

1 INTRODUCTION

The restoration of gait is an important goal in stroke patients. Gait regulation and control are complex and are managed evolutionarily by higher centers, with locomotor programming at the level of the cerebral cortex in conjunction with the basal ganglia and the cerebellum (Takakusaki, 2013).

Several studies have investigated the effects of brain lesions on the recovery of gait, and showed that the size of brain lesions affected recovery (Alexander et al., 2009; Kaczmarczyk, Wit, Krawczyk, Zaborski, & Gajewski, 2012). Damage to the posterolateral putamen was associated with temporal gait asymmetry (Alexander et al., 2009). Our previous study showed the caudate nucleus was related to motor recovery in the lower limbs (Lee, Kim, Hong, & Lim, 2017). Another recent study failed to reveal specific lesion locations with regard to balance and gait function (Moon, Pyun, Tae, & Kwon, 2016). Previous researches for Parkinson’s disease, s dorsal striatum has been known as a gait pattern generator (Gilat et al., 2017; Peterson, Pickett, Duncan, Perlmutter, & Earhart, 2014; Snijders et al., 2016). However, the role of dorsal striatum for gait recovery is still uncovered in stroke.

Here, we sought to investigate the effects of stroke lesions on gait recovery. Although some studies have demonstrated effects of brain lesions on gait, the effects of specific brain lesions remain unclear. Specifically, we investigated the neurological images and clinical recovery in subjects who had suffered their first supratentorial stroke via lesion symptom mapping. The primary goal of the study was to investigate the effects of stroke lesions on gait recovery in stroke patients.[…]

Continue —> Brain lesions affecting gait recovery in stroke patients – Lee – 2017 – Brain and Behavior – Wiley Online Library

Figure 3

Figure 3 Subtraction analysis, where the overlay of patients without independent walking ability was subtracted from the overlay of those with independent walking ability. The top represents the subtraction analysis where the overlay of patients without independent walking ability was subtracted from the overlay of those with independent walking ability at 3 months post stroke. The bottom represents subtraction analysis where the overlay of patients without independent walking ability was subtracted from the overlay of those with independent walking ability at 6 months post stroke

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[Abstract] How do patients describe their disabilities? A coding system for categorizing patients’ descriptions

Abstract

Background

To provide care that meets the values and preferences of patients with disabilities, health care providers need to understand patients’ perceptions and understanding of their disability. No studies have explored patients’ definitions of disability within the healthcare setting.

Objective

The aim of the study was to understand how patients’ define their disability in the healthcare setting and to develop a coding system for categorizing how they describe their disability.

Methods

In 2000 all new outpatients at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN completed a form that inquired if they had a disability and if so, to write in the disability. The research team categorized the responses by disability type (e.g.: visual or physical) and how the patient described his disability or “disability narrative” (e.g.: diagnosis or activity).

Results

Within 128,636 patients, 14,908 reported a disability. For adults, lower limb (26%) and chronic conditions (24%) were the most frequent disability type and activity limitations (56%) were the most frequent disability narrative category. For pediatric patients, developmental disabilities (43%) were the most frequently reported disability type and diagnoses (83%) were the most frequent disability narrative category. Patients used different disability narrative categories to describe different disability types. For example, most adults reporting a mental health listed a diagnosis (97%), compared to only 13% of those with lower limb disabilities.

Conclusions

Patients had diverse descriptions of their disabilities. In order for providers and healthcare organizations to provide high-quality care, they should engage patients in developing a consistent, patient-centered language around disability.

Source: How do patients describe their disabilities? A coding system for categorizing patients’ descriptions – Disability and Health Journal

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[WEB SITE] How VR Helps Seniors and People With Disabilities Improve Their Health and Happiness

 
Credit to: NPR

With seniors over the age of 65 making up 617 million people worldwide and 15% of all people (over a billion) being disabled, health and happiness is an important concept that affects everyone.

News flash — we’re all human, everyone ages, many people are already disabled or will become disabled at some point in their life, and most people want to feel happy and healthy in their lives.

Not Enough Exercise

Credit to: Dreamstime.com

Exercising for at least 30 minutes a day is linked to better physical and emotional health. With a third of adults aged 50 and up and 47% of people with disabilities ages 18 to 64 not getting enough exercise, there has to be something to get them moving and enjoying life to the fullest.

Seniors and people with disabilities are sometimes limited to what exercises they can do. Adaptive equipment like a wheelchair, walker, or cane are supposed to improve mobility but can become a hindrance to exercise for many. People with physical limitations may not even be able to stand, walk, or leave their bed due to medical reasons.

Credit to: CBS

So what’s the solution? How do we get seniors and people who are disabled more access to activity and increase their wellbeing? The answer is virtual reality. VR allows anyone to put on a headset, pick a game that’s standing or sitting, and enjoy the combined benefits of physical and mental activity.

VR Cardio

Getting cardio doesn’t have to mean going for a run or jog anymore, you can still get a workout and reap all the heart-healthy benefits from playing a VR game.

Credit to: Rec Room via Against Gravity

Rec Room is best played with a group of people because you’ll be playing games like paintball. The game won’t be too intense, you’re free to sit or stand while playing, and it will feel like the exercise equivalent to walking.

Credit to: Music Inside: A VR Rhythm Game via Reality Reflection

There’s also a faster paced drumming VR game called Music Inside: A VR Rhythm Game that can be played standing or sitting as you use your upper body to hit the drum to the beat and your core and lower body to stabilize.

There are many more VR games on the VR Fitness Insider game page that will get your heart pumping. Take a look!

VR Strength Training

Having strong muscles can help improve balance, strength, can reduce bone fractures, and can even improve independence during activities over time.

Fruit Ninja is a great standing game that has you using the VR controllers as a machete to slice and dice fruit. You’ll be using your upper body to reach and slice fruit, your mid-body to reach towards different directions, and your lower body to position your body and to move frequently. This VR game is rated by the VR Health Institute as being an equal workout compared to using an elliptical.

Please note: If you have a strong upper body or lower body and want a challenge you can always add hand weights or ankle weights to boost the difficulty level. Please consult a trainer or doctor before adding weights to your exercise plan.

VR Flexibility for Mind and Body

Exercising your body while also using your mind can help promote happiness, lower stress, improve memory, and flexible thinking skills.

Everyone experiences stress, so playing games like Wise Mind is a great way for everyone to unwind from a long day or start the day off with a clear and calm mind. Wise Mind has you practicing Tai Chi, balancing stones, and gives you mindfulness and meditation exercises to choose from. Tai Chi is great for a low impact and low-stress exercise that can be done seated or standing. Balancing stones is great for hand-eye coordination practice as well as promoting patience and understanding with yourself and others. While the meditation and mindfulness activities will keep your mind clear and resilient.

Stretching muscles helps to prevent muscle atrophy, improve range of motion and flexibility, reduces injuries, and increases pain relief.

VR apps like Yoga Joint VR Experience are great for getting a slow to advanced paced stretch while also building muscle strength and tone. Yoga involves you using your own strength to hold poses using your own body weight. Many yoga poses can be modified to suit needs based on injuries and physical limitations. Some yoga stretches can even be modified while sitting in a chair or wheelchair.

VR Helps Everyone Get Healthy

Credit to: Abilitynet.org.uk

Getting exercise, stretching, and being mindful using VR will improve your physical health but it will also make you feel happier overall. Getting VR headsets and games in the hands of the people who will benefit from using it the most is essential. Helping the disabled and the elderly gain access to VR helps them break through old limitations that used to hold them back.

Credit to: Pixabay.com

Using VR to exercise and experience new ideas, environments, and people drastically improves the quality of people’s lives. So let’s do something about it — tell your neighbors, friends, coworkers, and family members about the physical and mental health benefits of VR.

Source: How VR Helps Seniors and People With Disabilities Improve Their Health and Happiness – VR Fitness Insider

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[REVIEW] Biomechanics and neural control of movement, 20 years later: what have we learned and what has changed? – Full Text

Abstract

We summarize content from the opening thematic session of the 20th anniversary meeting for Biomechanics and Neural Control of Movement (BANCOM). Scientific discoveries from the past 20 years of research are covered, highlighting the impacts of rapid technological, computational, and financial growth on motor control research. We discuss spinal-level communication mechanisms, relationships between muscle structure and function, and direct cortical movement representations that can be decoded in the control of neuroprostheses. In addition to summarizing the rich scientific ideas shared during the session, we reflect on research infrastructure and capacity that contributed to progress in the field, and outline unresolved issues and remaining open questions.

Background

At the 20th anniversary meeting for Biomechanics and Neural Control of Movement (BANCOM), the opening thematic session was chaired by Dr. Fay Horak (Oregon Health & Science University). Presentations and discussions covered insights from 20 years of research in the field of motor control, delivered by Drs. Zev Rymer (Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago), Andy Biewener (Harvard University), Andy Schwartz (University of Pittsburgh), and Daofen Chen (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke). Presentation themes included the impact of technological advancements on motor control research, unresolved issues in muscle biology and neurophysiology, and changes in the scientific funding landscape. This brief review summarizes content presented by each speaker, along with discussions from the audience.

Considerable changes have occurred in the fields of biomechanics and motor control over the past 20 years, changes made possible by rapid technological advances in computing power and memory along with reduced physical size of biotechnology hardware. Because of these changes, research approaches have been reshaped and new questions have emerged. Previously, motor control research was constrained to laboratory-based assessments of individual neurons, muscles or joints, captured from low sample sizes. In the past, reliance on large, expensive, external recording devices, such as optical motion capture systems, understandably limited the feasibility of large-scale, multivariate research. Today, whole-body kinematic recordings using body-worn inertial measurement units, wireless electromyography (EMG), electroencephalography (EEG), and functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) systems, and electrode arrays for neural network recordings are increasingly commonplace. Alongside these technical leaps, sociocultural bounds have expanded research inclusion, as evidenced in the representation of speakers at the 2016 BANCOM meeting. In contrast to the 1996 meeting, which included three invited female speakers, 13 women were included as speakers in 2016. Such advancements will continue to shape our scientific landscape, driving innovation through new technologies and perspectives.[…]

Continue —>  Biomechanics and neural control of movement, 20 years later: what have we learned and what has changed? | Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation | Full Text

 

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[Brochure] THE FUTURE IS MOVING – Revolutionizing Functional Movement Therapy – HOCOMA

HOCOMA REVOLUTIONIZING REHABILITATION

Conventional therapy today is limited—by time, by number of repetitions, by
the lack of reproducible movement quality and by the fact that it is strenuous for both therapists and patients. In other words: there is a disbalance between the therapy we know we should provide according to motor learning principles and all the factors that prevent us from reaching this goal.[…]

Download Brochure (PDF file)

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