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[ARTICLE] Home-based virtual reality training after discharge from hospital-based stroke rehabilitation: a parallel randomized feasibility trial – Full Text



Virtual reality training (VRT) uses computer software to track a user’s movements and allow him or her to interact with a game presented on a television screen. VRT is increasingly being used for the rehabilitation of arm function, balance and walking after stroke. Patients often require ongoing therapy post discharge from inpatient rehabilitation. Outpatient therapy may be limited or inaccessible due to waiting lists, transportation issues, distance etc.; therefore, home-based VRT could provide the required therapy in a more convenient and accessible setting. The objectives of this parallel randomized feasibility trial are to determine (1) the feasibility of using VRT in the home post stroke and (2) the feasibility of a battery of quantitative and qualitative outcome measures of stroke recovery.


Forty patients who can stand for at least 2 min and are soon to be discharged from inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation post stroke are being recruited in Ottawa, Canada and being randomized to control and experimental groups. Participants in the experimental group use home-based VRT to do rehabilitative exercises for standing balance, stepping, reaching, strengthening and gentle aerobic fitness. Control group participants use an iPad with apps selected to rehabilitate cognition, hand fine motor skills and visual tracking/scanning. Both groups are instructed to perform 30 min of exercise 5 days a week for 6 weeks. VRT intensity and difficulty are monitored and adjusted remotely. Weekly telephone contact is made with all participants. Ability to recruit participants, ability to handle the technology and learn the activities, compliance, safety, enjoyment, perceived efficacy and cost of program delivery will be assessed. A battery of assessments of standing balance, gait and community integration will be assessed for feasibility of completion within this population and potential for improvement following the intervention. Effect sizes will be calculated.


The results of this study will be used to support the creation of a definitive randomized controlled trial on the efficacy of home-based VRT for rehabilitation post stroke.

Introduction and objectives

Stroke causes approximately 17,600 hospital admissions per year in Ontario and 50% of individuals who have had a stroke are left with moderate to severe impairment [12]. Most patients who are discharged from inpatient stroke rehabilitation are only 8–10 weeks post stroke and have not completely recovered. Their central nervous systems are still in a period of enhanced neuroplasticity, during which great functional change can be made [34]. Therapy outcomes are dose-dependent; intensive, high-repetition, task-oriented and task-specific therapies are most effective [56]. Therefore, for the greatest recovery possible, these patients require ongoing, intensive therapy. Most are offered this on an outpatient basis. However, for many reasons (transportation difficulties, distance from the rehabilitation center, weather etc.), not all eligible patients are able to attend outpatient therapy. Also, there is a waiting list and a limited number of outpatient therapy sessions are offered to each patient. Home-based therapy may fill an important role towards increasing the availability of rehabilitation, enabling patients to enhance or prolong their therapy and potentially improving outcomes.

Non-immersive virtual reality training (VRT) uses computer software to track the user’s movements and allow him or her to interact with a game or activity presented on a TV screen. It is convenient, timely, enjoyable and may be used for an unlimited period post stroke [78]. VRT has been shown to benefit upper extremity function, standing balance, gait and overall function in the sub-acute and chronic phases post stroke, at least as much as or more than conventional therapy [7910111213].

Home-based VRT offers a promising addition or alternative to existing rehabilitation programs that could make a significant difference in the lives of stroke survivors. A few preliminary studies have investigated the use of home-based VRT for standing balance and upper extremity recovery after stroke and shown potential feasibility of these systems for ongoing rehabilitation in the home [1415161718]. Some VRT platforms allow the user to interface via tactile devices (for example, a dynamic standing frame [14] or robotic glove [18]) while others use motion-tracking via a camera [16]. Some platforms use asynchronous monitoring to allow the therapist to monitor VRT usage and performance after the actual event [16] while others use synchronous monitoring to enable the therapist to watch in while the participant exercises; some even require constant real-time patient/therapist interaction [1719] throughout the therapy session. Users report high satisfaction with home-based VRT [1617], although actual usage can vary greatly [18]. Barriers to the use of home-based VRT include technical issues and lack of previous technical experience [18]. While some previous experience with computers is helpful, those who play video games regularly can become bored with VRT. Facilitators include the flexibility of home-based exercise, support from family and motivation from the VRT itself. Early results, available from a single randomized controlled trial (RCT) with 30 participants, suggest that home-based VRT improves standing balance and gait equally to in-clinic VRT, but that the costs are 44% lower [16].

We wish to add to these early studies of home-based VRT using a virtual reality system (Jintronix Inc.) that was initially developed for stroke rehabilitation and has also been used extensively with healthy and frail elderly individuals. The Jintronix system is marketed for institutional and home use and has a simple-to-use interface, but its home use has not yet been fully evaluated. The games are designed to incorporate motor learning principles such as multiple forms of feedback and task-specific practice that can be progressed to maintain an appropriate level of challenge. Unlike systems used in previous research, the Jintronix system includes a wide selection of games and exercises designed for the rehabilitation of sitting and standing balance, gait and upper extremity use. The system is simple to use and relatively inexpensive; a motion-tracking camera and software eliminates the need for gloves/controllers etc. It is straightforward enough for the patient to use independently; asynchronous monitoring is used to track usage and the therapist can change games and parameters remotely. The purpose of this study is to investigate the feasibility, acceptance and safety of this new, simple-to-use VRT system for use in the home, combined with asynchronous, remote support for the user. The results of this trial will support a definitive RCT in the future.

The primary objective is to assess the feasibility of using VRT in the home with patients post stroke, using quantitative and qualitative methods. Specific objectives are:

  1. 1.

    To estimate the recruitment rate of participants into the study;

  2. 2.

    To assess the ability and compliance of the participants with respect to the components of the research protocol (ability to learn VRT through the training program; ability to comply with the exercise protocol; participant retention);

  3. 3.

    To determine the safety of home-based VRT (presence of minor and major adverse events);

  4. 4.

    To assess the ability of stroke survivors and their study partners to use VRT technology in the home (i.e. technical difficulties, difficulty learning the games);

  5. 5.

    To assess the acceptability of the VRT intervention (enjoyment; perceived efficacy);

  6. 6.

    To estimate the cost for a future definitive RCT on in-home VRT.

The secondary objective is to assess the feasibility of the outcome measures, using quantitative and qualitative methods. Specific objectives are:

  1. 1.

    To assess the feasibility and acceptance of a battery of outcome measures, including physical assessments, questionnaires, an interview and a log book;

  2. 2.

    To assess the potential that home-based VRT might maintain or improve physical outcomes of standing balance, gait and general function and community integration after discharge from hospital-based stroke rehabilitation, compared to those who perform a program of iPad apps designed for fine hand motor skills and cognitive training;

  3. 3.

    To determine the sample size required for a future definitive RCT on in-home VRT.

This study is a prospective, single-site, single-blinded, parallel-group (1:1 ratio) randomized, superiority feasibility trial on the use of VRT for ongoing stroke rehabilitation after discharge from inpatient or outpatient stroke rehabilitation. A feasibility RCT was chosen in order to provide the most useful results to prepare for a future definitive RCT on the efficacy of home-based VRT. iPad apps were chosen as a comparator to VRT because they provide a control group that has equal contact with the researchers and equal time spent in an engaging activity. The use of an active control group (rather than providing control group participants with nothing) was also chosen to facilitate recruitment. The iPad apps chosen to work on hand fine motor control and cognition were not deemed to have any influence on the physical outcome measures of standing balance, gait and gross motor function. The Standard Protocol Items: Recommendation for Interventional Trials (SPIRIT) checklist is available as Additional file 1: Figure S1.[…]


Continue —>  Home-based virtual reality training after discharge from hospital-based stroke rehabilitation: a parallel randomized feasibility trial | Trials | Full Text

Fig. 1a  Experimental intervention – home-based virtual reality training targeting standing balance, stepping, reaching, strengthening and aerobic exercise. b Control intervention – iPad apps targeting cognition and hand fine motor control

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[Abstract + References] Virtual Reality Game Development Using Accelerometers for Post-stroke Rehabilitation – Conference paper


Stroke can generate several types of sequelae, including motor difficulties in both upper and lower limbs. One way to eliminate or reduce these difficulties is through physical therapy, but this type of treatment can often become tiresome and monotonous, decreasing the patient’s interest. Thus, aiming to assist in the rehabilitation of patients, this work seeks to use immersive virtual reality games with the purpose of interacting with physiotherapy exercises. In this type of game the individual must use special equipment (glasses) to feel in an environment where they can interact in different ways with the scenery. Among the possible equipment used for immersive virtual reality was chosen to use a smartphone in conjunction with a virtual reality glasses. In this way an environment was developed that allows the individual to move through the scenario by the control of the upper virtual members by accelerometry sensors, which will be positioned properly to identify the actual movement of the limbs. Thus, an equipment was developed capable of reading the movements and sending this information to a smartphone that executes the developed game.


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via Virtual Reality Game Development Using Accelerometers for Post-stroke Rehabilitation | SpringerLink

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[ARTICLE] Transcranial Focused Ultrasound (tFUS) and Transcranial Unfocused Ultrasound (tUS) Neuromodulation: From Theoretical Principles to Stimulation Practices

Transcranial focused ultrasound is an emerging technique for non-invasive neurostimulation. Compared to magnetic or electric non-invasive brain stimulation, this technique has a higher spatial resolution and can reach deep structures. In addition, both animal and human studies suggest that, potentially, different sites of the central and peripheral nervous system can be targeted by this technique. Depending on stimulation parameters, transcranial focused ultrasound is able to determine a wide spectrum of effects, ranging from suppression or facilitation of neural activity to tissue ablation. The aim is to review the state of the art of the human transcranial focused ultrasound neuromodulation literature, including the theoretical principles which underlie the explanation of the bioeffects on neural tissues, and showing the stimulation techniques and parameters used and their outcomes in terms of clinical, neurophysiological or neuroimaging results and safety.


Preliminary animal studies suggest that, potentially, different sites in the peripheral nervous system, from nerves (1) to spinal roots (2), and in the central nervous system, from superficial regions like primary motor cortex (3) or frontal eye field (4), to more deep areas like hippocampus (3), amygdala (5), or thalamus (6) can be targeted by focused ultrasound stimulation technique. In addition, animal studies showed that this technique has a high spatial resolution, useful also for mapping small brain areas, as shown by Fry (7) for the mapping of lateral geniculate nucleus, or by Ballantine et al. (2) for the stimulation of Edinger-Westphal nucleus.

Furthermore, a recent fMRI resting-state functional connectivity animal study (8), showed that the effect of tFUS neuromodulation can last for up to 2 h after stimulation, opening a new way to explore not only the online effect but also the long lasting effect of neuromodulation. The first human transcranial application of ultrasounds for neuromodulation was described by Hameroff et al. (9), with an unfocused transcranial ultrasound (tUS) continuous stimulation of posterior frontal cortex, applied on 31 patients affected by chronic pain. The first human application of focused transcranial ultrasound (tFUS) technique was described by Legon et al. (10). They targeted the primary somatosensory cortex of healthy volunteers, in a within-subjects, sham-controlled study. One of the most interesting results of tFUS applications was a case report of emergence from minimally conscious state, after low intensity non-invasive ultrasonic thalamic stimulation in a patient after acute brain injury (11). Following this first single evidence, a clinical trial is ongoing to explore the effect of thalamic low intensity focused ultrasound in acute brain injury patients (12).

Regarding peripheral nervous system neuromodulation, Bailey et al. (13) explored the ability of continuous US at 1.5 MHz in modulating the ulnar nerve stimulation response to magnetic stimulation (MS). This study showed no significant change in electromyographic response during magnetic plus US ulnar nerve stimulation. However, further studies are needed in order to explore different parameter of stimulation.

In recent years, the scientific community showed a progressive increasing interest on FUS neuromodulation, and some reviews have been published in order to summarize the state of the art on this topic (1418).

Mechanisms of Actions of US Neuromodulation

Focused ultrasound is a non-invasive, non-ionizing technique. In order to target a brain region, the first challenge is to let ultrasounds single waves to reach the target at the same time, without different acoustic reflection, refraction, and distortion due to the inhomogeneity of skull bone. This problem can be solved by time shifting each single ultrasound wave, according to the related skull bone acoustical properties, in order to let all the waves to reach the target at the same time (1922).

The mechanical interaction between US and neuronal membranes can modify the membrane gating kinetics through the action on mechanosensitive voltage-gated ion channels or neurotransmitter receptors (2325). The study of Tyler et al. (25) supports this hypothesis. Their study showed, on ex vivo mouse brains and hippocampal slice cultures, that low-intensity, low-frequency ultrasound (LILFU) is able to activate voltage-gated sodium and calcium channels. However, this can’t be the only mechanism of action, explaining the action potential induction, since in simulations, considering the role of membrane tension on activation of mechanically sensitive voltage gated channels, the resulting effect was too low to induce an excitation (2627).

In addition, the mechanical action of US is able to induce cavitation into the cellular membrane, by means of membrane pore formation, which changes the membrane permeability.

The bilayer sonophore model (28) was introduced to better explain the bioeffects of US, taking into consideration the biomechanical proprieties of US and of cell membranes. According to this model (28), the mechanical energy of US leads to periodic expansions and contractions of the membrane. In this model, the US bioeffect is dependent on the tension applied to the membrane. With a progressive increase in membrane stretch intensity, the bioeffect is mediated by different mechanisms. First by the activation of mechanosensitive proteins. Then, with an increase of intensity, there is a pore formation and with the maximum stretch that can be achieved with the technique a membrane rupture and irreversible lesion is obtained (28) (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Ultrasound gradually increases tension in the membrane. From the reference stage (S0), the stretch first activates mechanosensitive proteins (S1); growing tension might damage membrane proteins (S2) and then might induce pore formation (S3a, S3b) or cause membrane rupture [modified, with permission, from Krasovitski et al. (28)].


Continue —> Frontiers | Transcranial Focused Ultrasound (tFUS) and Transcranial Unfocused Ultrasound (tUS) Neuromodulation: From Theoretical Principles to Stimulation Practices | Neurology

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[NEWS] Predicting seizures before they happen

Date: June 10, 2019

Source: RCSI

Summary: A new study has found a pattern of molecules that appear in the blood before a seizure happens. This discovery may lead to the development of an early warning system, which would enable people with epilepsy to know when they are at risk of having a seizure.


A new study has found a pattern of molecules that appear in the blood before a seizure happens. This discovery may lead to the development of an early warning system, which would enable people with epilepsy to know when they are at risk of having a seizure.

Researchers at FutureNeuro, the SFI Research Centre for Chronic and Rare Neurological Diseases, hosted at RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) led the study, which is published in the current edition of the Journal of Clinical Investigation (JCI).

FutureNeuro and RCSI researchers have discovered molecules in the blood that are higher in people with epilepsy before a seizure happens. These molecules are fragments of transfer RNAs (tRNAs), a chemical closely related to DNA that performs an important role in building proteins within the cell. When cells are stressed, tRNAs are cut into fragments. Higher levels of the fragments in the blood could reflect that brain cells are under stress in the build up to a seizure event.

Using blood samples from people with epilepsy at the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin and in a similar specialist centre in Marburg, Germany, the group found that fragment levels of three tRNAs “spike” in the blood many hours before a seizure.

“People with epilepsy often report that one of the most difficult aspects of living with the disease is never knowing when a seizure will occur,” said Dr Marion Hogg, FutureNeuro investigator, Honorary Lecturer at RCSI, and the study’s lead author.

“The results of this study are very promising. We hope that our tRNA research will be a key first step toward developing an early warning system.”

Approximately 40,000 people in Ireland have epilepsy and one third of those do not respond to current treatments, meaning they continue to experience seizures. The World Health Organisation estimates that more than 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy.

“New technologies to remove the unpredictability of uncontrolled seizures for people with epilepsy are a very real possibility,” said Professor David Henshall, Director of FutureNeuro and Professor of Molecular Physiology and Neuroscience at RCSI who was a co-author on the paper.

“Building on this research we in FutureNeuro hope to develop a test prototype, similar to a blood sugar monitor that can potentially predict when a seizure might occur.”

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Materials provided by RCSINote: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Marion C. Hogg, Rana Raoof, Hany El Naggar, Naser Monsefi, Norman Delanty, Donncha F. O’Brien, Sebastian Bauer, Felix Rosenow, David C. Henshall, Jochen H.M. Prehn. Elevation of plasma tRNA fragments precedes seizures in human epilepsyJournal of Clinical Investigation, 2019; DOI: 10.1172/JCI126346

via Predicting seizures before they happen — ScienceDaily

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[ARTICLE] The Relationship of the FOUR Score to Patient Outcome: A Systematic Review -Full Text


The Full Outline of UnResponsiveness (FOUR) score assessment of consciousness replaces the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) verbal component with assessment of brainstem reflexes. A comprehensive overview studying the relationship between a patient’s FOUR score and outcome is lacking. We aim to systematically review published literature reporting the relationship of FOUR score to outcome in adult patients with impaired consciousness. We systematically searched for records of relevant studies: CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, Scopus, Web of Science, ClinicalTrials.gov, and OpenGrey. Prospective, observational studies of patients with impaired consciousness were included where consciousness was assessed using FOUR score, and where the outcome in mortality or validated functional outcome scores was reported. Consensus-based screening and quality appraisal were performed. Outcome prognostication was synthesized narratively. Forty records (37 studies) were identified, with overall low (n = 2), moderate (n = 25), or high (n = 13) risk of bias. There was significant heterogeneity in patient characteristics. FOUR score showed good to excellent prognostication of in-hospital mortality in most studies (area under curve [AUC], >0.80). It was good at predicting poor functional outcome (AUC, 0.80–0.90). There was some evidence that motor and eye components (also GCS components) had better prognostic ability than brainstem components. Overall, FOUR score relates closely to in-hospital mortality and poor functional outcome. More studies with standardized design are needed to better characterize it in different patient groups, confirm the differences between its four components, and compare it with the performance of GCS and its recently described derivative, the GCS-Pupils, which includes pupil response as a fourth component.


Clinicians’ management decisions about acute traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients are guided by assessments of the person’s current state and may also be influenced by their perceptions of its relation to the patient’s likely outcome.1 Internationally, the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) is the most widely used tool for assessing and communicating about a patient’s responsiveness.2 All the three components—eye, motor, and verbal responses—relate to outcome,3 as does the derived summation into the GCS score, albeit with some loss of information. Moreover, the GCS is combined with other features, such as pupil response, age, and injury characteristics, in numerous multi-variate prognostic models for predicting functional outcome and mortality.4–6 The difficulty in assigning a verbal response in an intubated patient and the separation of assessment of brain stem features, such as pupil response, in multi-variate modeling stimulated specialists in neurological intensive care to propose an alternative approach.

The Full Outline of UnResponsiveness (FOUR) score was described by Wijdicks and colleagues. It is based on the eye and motor components of the Glasgow system, but the verbal component was removed and two new components added, namely brainstem reflexes and respiratory pattern. The FOUR score was developed for the assessment of level of consciousness in patients admitted to a neurointensive care unit.7 This was with the purpose of improving the standardized assessment of level of consciousness for patients who are intubated or have focal neurological deficits. Each component is a 5-point scale, ranging from 0 to 4, with combined FOUR score ranging from 0 to 16, with 16 indicating the highest level of consciousness. Unlike the GCS, the eyes must be able to track or blink to command in order to obtain the maximum score of 4 points for eye component in FOUR score. Table 1 shows the scoring criteria for all components of FOUR score and GCS. The FOUR score approach emphasizes description of a patient by the combined score and the validity of the latter as an index of acute severity through its relationship to outcome. In order to provide a comprehensive assessment of the latter, we have performed a systematic review of the reported evidence, with focus on prognostic performance in groups of patients particularly targeted by FOUR score, namely those with a neurological diagnosis, intubated patients, and those admitted to dedicated neuroscience centers.

Table 1. Components of the FOUR Score and Glasgow Coma Scale
Full Outline of UnResponsiveness Score Glasgow Coma Scale
Eye response
4 = eyelids open or opened, tracking, or blinking to command
3 = eyelids open but not tracking
2 = eyelids closed, but open to loud voice
1 = eyelids closed, but open to pain
0 = eyelids remain closed with pain
Eye opening
4 = spontaneous
3 = to speech
2 = to pain
1 = none
Motor response
4 = thumbs-up, fist, or peace sign
3 = localizing to pain
2 = flexion response to pain
1 = extension response to pain
0 = no response to pain or generalized myoclonus status
Best motor response
6 = obeying commands
5 = localizing to pain
4 = withdrawal from pain
3 = abnormal flexion response to pain
2 = extension response to pain
1 = none
Brainstem reflexes
4 = pupil and corneal reflexes present
3 = one pupil wide and fixed
2 = pupil or corneal reflexes absent
1 = pupil and corneal reflexes absent
0 = absent pupil, corneal and cough reflex
Verbal response
5 = orientated
4 = confused
3 = inappropriate words
2 = incomprehensible sounds
1 = none
4 = not intubated, regular breathing pattern
3 = not intubated, Cheyne-Stokes breathing pattern
2 = not intubated, irregular breathing
1 = breathes above ventilator rate
0 = breathes at ventilator rate or apnea

FOUR, Full Outline of UnResponsiveness. […]


Continue —>  The Relationship of the FOUR Score to Patient Outcome: A Systematic Review | Journal of Neurotrauma

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[ARTICLE] Long-term outcomes of semi-implantable functional electrical stimulation for central drop foot – Full Text



Central drop foot is a common problem in patients with stroke or multiple sclerosis (MS). For decades, it has been treated with orthotic devices, keeping the ankle in a fixed position. It has been shown recently that semi-implantable functional electrical stimulation (siFES) of the peroneal nerve can lead to a greater gait velocity increase than orthotic devices immediately after being switched on. Little is known, however, about long-term outcomes over 12 months, and the relationship between quality of life (QoL) and gait speed using siFES has never been reported applying a validated tool. We provide here a report of short (3 months) and long-term (12 months) outcomes for gait speed and QoL.


Forty-five consecutive patients (91% chronic stroke, 9% MS) with central drop foot received siFES (Actigait®). A 10 m walking test was carried out on day 1 of stimulation (T1), in stimulation ON and OFF conditions, and repeated after 3 (T2) and 12 (T3) months. A 36-item Short Form questionnaire was applied at all three time points.


We found a main effect of stimulation on both maximum (p < 0.001) and comfortable gait velocity (p < 0.001) and a main effect of time (p = 0.015) only on maximum gait velocity. There were no significant interactions. Mean maximum gait velocity across the three assessment time points was 0.13 m/s greater with stimulation ON than OFF, and mean comfortable gait velocity was 0.083 m/s faster with stimulation ON than OFF. The increase in maximum gait velocity over time was 0.096 m/s, with post hoc testing revealing a significant increase from T1 to T2 (p = 0.012), which was maintained but not significantly further increased at T3. QoL scores showed a main effect of time (p < 0.001), with post hoc testing revealing an increase from T1 to T2 (p < 0.001), which was maintained at T3 (p < 0.001). Finally, overall absolute QoL scores correlated with the absolute maximum and comfortable gait speeds at T2 and T3, and the increase in overall QoL scores correlated with the increase in comfortable gait velocity from T1 to T3. Pain was reduced at T2 (p < 0.001) and was independent of gait speed but correlated with overall QoL (p < 0.001).


Peroneal siFES increased maximal and comfortable gait velocity and QoL, with the greatest increase in both over the first three months, which was maintained at one year, suggesting that 3 months is an adequate follow-up time. Pain after 3 months correlated with QoL and was independent of gait velocity, suggesting pain as an independent outcome measure in siFES for drop foot.



Drop foot is a common symptom in patients suffering from first motor neuron lesions, such as due to stroke and multiple sclerosis (MS). It is characterized by impaired lifting of the forefoot from the ground during the swing phase of walking and by a lack of stability during the early stance phase. Drop foot results in an altered gait pattern [3] and increased risk of falls [8]. Application of an ankle foot orthosis (AFO) is the traditional approach to improving gait pattern and reducing falls. However, it is not well-tolerated in all patients [10]. In recent years, gait improvement has been achieved using functional electrical stimulation (FES) [110162325], which combines the orthotic benefits of an AFO with a more physiological approach that involves muscle contraction and the related sensory feedback [1025]. Transcutaneous FES (tcFES) of the peroneal nerve has been associated with significantly reduced falls compared to intensive physiotherapy [7]. Indeed, 69% of the falls in this FES group occurred when the system was not used. Moreover, a systematic review of FES in MS patients indicates increased gait speed using FES [19]. Semi-implantable FES (siFES) of the peroneal nerve has been found to increase gait speed and improve gait patterns compared with a baseline without stimulation [61017], compared to orthotic devices [123], and also compared to tcFES [17]. The findings of a systematic review, including predominantly chronic stroke patients, however, did not suggest a difference between tcFES and siFES in terms of walking speed [13]. An implantable stimulator does, however, offer the advantage of avoiding the need for daily optimization of stimulator location [28] and potential skin lesions associated with surface stimulation electrodes. Moreover, the possibility of using a 4-channel implantable system, with independent control of each channel, means that the volume of tissue activated within the nerve can be individually selected, in order to optimize dorsiflexion of the foot while avoiding stimulation of the sensory fascicles of the common peroneal nerve [10]. Here we retrospectively hypothesised that increases in gait speed are associated with improvements in quality of life (QoL). Furthermore, we assumed pain scores had improved under therapy and expected them to be related to the overall QoL, and we hypothesised that increased gait velocity would have resulted in improvement of both physical and emotional subscores of the QoL. To address these hypotheses, we evaluated improvement in gait velocity in the largest cohort of patients to date, with stimulation ON and OFF, at three time points over 1 year, to assess the short- and long-term effects of siFES, examining correlation between gait speed and QoL, as well as between changes in these factors, over a year of continuous treatment.

Most studies of implantable systems for stroke to date cover observation periods of 3 to 6 months post-surgery and suggest siFES provides a promising approach to managing drop foot. An increase in gait velocity and endurance, as well as an improvement in QoL, was observed 3–6 weeks post-operatively in a cohort of 27 patients receiving siFES [17]. Trials applying tcFES, which has been available since the early seventies [27], have tended to employ standardized and stratified re-examination, with early and long-term follow-up periods, such as 6 and 12 weeks [16], 3 and 12 months [25], and 24 days and 3 years [28]. A recent long-term multi-centre study applying siFES reported an improved gait pattern in a cohort of 10 stroke patients 6 months following siFES activation and in a separate cohort of 12 stroke patients 1 year after activation [1]. Their findings suggested greater knee stability, ankle plantarflexion power, and propulsion than that provided by an AFO. Here, we examined both the short- and long-term effects of using multichannel peroneal siFES in the largest patient group thus far reported, including both stroke and MS patients. The independent association between slow gait velocity and an increased risk of falls [8] renders gait velocity a valid surrogate parameter for the orthotic functionality of devices aiming to improve the limitations of drop foot. We aimed to investigate whether gait velocity improvements translate into QoL changes. Long-term follow-up (one year or longer) has been reported for large cohorts (more than 20 patients) using tcFES [2528], and for a smaller cohort (N = 12) using siFES [1]. Long-term follow-up in a large cohort of patients receiving siFES and evaluating QoL has not yet been reported. The particular strengths of the current study are the large cohort, the inclusion of short- and long-term follow-up, and the evaluation of QoL and its correlation with gait speed.[…]


Continue —>  Long-term outcomes of semi-implantable functional electrical stimulation for central drop foot | Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation | Full Text

Fig. 1Gait speed (m/s) in relation to duration of therapy with stimulation ON and OFF. a. Maximum gait velocity. Main effect of stimulation and time. Post hoc testing: significant difference from day 1 to month 3 (*). b. Comfortable gait velocity. Main effect of stimulation only. Error bars = standard error of the mean

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[Review Article] Rehabilitation Technology: Assistance from Hospital to Home – Full Text


Rehabilitation is essential for disabled people to achieve the highest level of functional independence, reducing or preventing impairments. Nonetheless, this process can be long and expensive. This fact together with the ageing phenomenon has become a critical issue for both clinicians and patients. In this sense, technological solutions may be beneficial since they reduce the costs and increase the number of patients per caregiver, which makes them more accessible. In addition, they provide access to rehabilitation services for those facing physical, financial, and/or attitudinal barriers. This paper presents the state of the art of the assistive rehabilitation technologies for different recovery methods starting from in-person sessions to complementary at-home activities.

1. Introduction

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 15% of the world’s population suffers some form of disability. Due to the ageing phenomenon and the prevalence of chronic diseases such as epilepsy, cancer, or mental health disorders, this percentage has incessantly increased. This fact leads to a growing demand for rehabilitation services since they play an important role in enhancing functioning, reinforcing the person’s autonomy, and improving the patient’s quality of life [12]. This demand far exceeds availability in terms of rehabilitation professionals (i.e., occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and speech therapists) such that the density of those professionals is greatly below the threshold required for providing adequate services (approximately a tenth of that required) [34]. Additionally, different barriers like low-income deny the access to the rehabilitation services required to live in health, comfort, and dignity. These deficiencies could be overcome with technology, reducing the need for formal support services, the time and physical burden for caregivers, and, consequently, their cost [56].

In this context, the key to technology success depends on its functionality and adaptability to the user’s needs and environment. However, rehabilitation is a broad concept covering a wide range of responses to disability. Generally speaking, rehabilitation can be defined as the step-by-step process designed to reduce disability and to optimise functioning in individuals with health conditions, enabling them to better interact with their environment. For that, rehabilitation commonly includes three aspects:(i)Physical, to regain strength, mobility, and fitness(ii)Occupational, to relearn the person’s daily activities(iii)Speech-language, to recover communication skills (i.e., speaking, understanding, reading, or writing)

The duration of the rehabilitation can vary depending on several factors such as the patient’s impairment level, the therapy intensity, or the individual activity and participation. For that reason, new ways without compromising patient wellbeing have been proposed. So, three different modalities can be found in the literature: (1) the in-person rehabilitation, where patients performs their program in presence of a therapist in an inpatient facility; (2) the combined in-person and at-home rehabilitation, where in-person rehabilitation takes place in an outpatient facility and is aided with at-home programs such that patients perform some therapeutic exercises prescribed by the clinician at home; and (3) the at-home rehabilitation, suitable for those requiring minor assistance or support, where a tailored therapy takes place entirely at home.

Focusing on the individual’s functioning, the technological solutions developed up to date have mainly aimed to physical recovery since mobility plays a main role in the independence and confidence of disabled people. More recently, research in occupational rehabilitation has emerged in response to Alzheimer’s disease and neurocognitive impairments.

This paper addresses the state-of-the-art assistive technologies for rehabilitation from the hospital to in-home programs. Despite its great importance in disabled people recovery, devices designed to replace the impaired limb (e.g., prosthetics and artificial limbs [78910] or smart wheelchairs [111213]) are not covered in this work.

2. In-Person Rehabilitation

One application of technology can be found as a support tool in the rehabilitation process. They help clinicians evaluate quantitatively the patient’s performance and progress while providing consistent training, specially for extended periods of time. This results in an increase in therapy access and a health-care cost reduction.

In this sense, Robotics has met this demand with a wide range of assistive products. For example, Andago [14] is a tool for overground gait training, bridging the gap between treadmill-based and free walking. With this technology, the patient’s fear of falling is considerably reduced while therapists focus on the therapy since they do not have to secure the patient. In a similar way, the G-EO System [15] assists therapists in patient’s motor recovery and, more specifically, in teaching patients walking again. Unlike the previous system, G-EO moves the patient’s legs when necessary to help the patient’s brain form new neuroplasticity pathways to replace the ones damaged by injury or disease. Kim and Deshpande presented in [16] HARMONY an upper-body robotic exoskeleton for rehabilitation. This exoskeleton provides natural coordinated motions on the shoulder for patients suffering from spinal and neurological injuries, including a wide range of motion and controllability of force and impedance. Several devices have been also developed for hand rehabilitation (e.g., [17181920]).

Although these robotic devices aid therapists in providing effective repetitive training and quantitative evaluation of patient’s progress, it is necessary to integrate any mechanism that makes rehabilitative exercises fun, challenging, and engaging. In this context, virtual reality (VR) and video game can fill the gap. That is, computer-based programs designed to simulate real-life objects and events in an attractive environment may engage patients to stage on track. In fact, the use of this kind of systems has been shown to be an effective mean for rehabilitation treatments since they offer clinicians the ability to control and grade tasks to challenge the user while providing them with an enriched environment to achieve high user’s engagement [2122].

From this starting point, a treadmill can be combined with VR technology. This is the case of C-Mill [23], a treadmill developed to train and assess patient’s gait and balance for a safe daily walk. It comes in three models: C-Mill, C-Mill VR, and C-Mill VR+ (Figure 1). Although he VR and VR + models use VR elements to stimulate and challenge patients, their final goal is different. That is, the C-Mill VR is aimed at training automated movements and dual tasking, whilst the C-Mill VR+ is a comprehensive solution for early to late rehabilitation with balance and body weight support.[…]


Continue —> Rehabilitation Technology: Assistance from Hospital to Home

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[VIDEO] Assessment of Visual Fields Video: Diane Dirette – YouTube

Watch a demonstration of assessing visual fields.

Read FREE related article: https://www.medbridgeeducation.com/h/…

Visual Deficits:Now You See It, Now You Don’t- A Clinical Pearl by Diane Powers Dirette, PhD, OTL

Visual deficits match many diagnoses and, if undetected, can be mistaken for other problems – e.g. sensory, motor, balance and cognitive deficits. It’s critical, therefore, that therapists know how to complete a basic visual screening and to interpret the results. For example, how can you tell homonymous hemianopia apart from unilateral inattention? The screening tools are virtually the same, but the screening results differ subtly.

via Assessment of Visual Fields Video: Diane Dirette | MedBridge – YouTube

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[VIDEO] How to simulate HH – YouTube

Quick and easy simulation of homonymous hemianopia/homonymous hemianopsia. Great to show loved ones and caregivers the dramatic nature of stroke related visual field loss.

via How to simulate HH – YouTube

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[VIDEO] Visual pathway lesion – YouTube

Right optic nerve lesion➡Blindness of Right eye

Left optic nerve lesion➡Blindness of  left eye

Lateral part of optic chiasma lesion➡Binasal Hemianopia

Medial Part of optic chiasma lesion➡ Bitemporal Hemianopia

Right Optic tract lesion➡Left Homonymous Hemianopia

via Visual pathway lesion – YouTube

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