Archive for category REHABILITATION

[Abstract] Functional Brain Stimulation in a Chronic Stroke Survivor With Moderate Impairment  

Abstract

OBJECTIVE. To determine the impact of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) combined with repetitive, task-specific training (RTP) on upper-extremity (UE) impairment in a chronic stroke survivor with moderate impairment.

METHOD. The participant was a 54-yr-old woman with chronic, moderate UE hemiparesis after a single stroke that had occurred 10 yr before study enrollment. She participated in 45-min RTP sessions 3 days/wk for 8 wk. tDCS was administered concurrent to the first 20 min of each RTP session.

RESULTS. Immediately after intervention, the participant demonstrated marked score increases on the UE section of the Fugl–Meyer Scale and the Motor Activity Log (on both the Amount of Use and the Quality of Movement subscales).

CONCLUSION. These data support the use of tDCS combined with RTP to decrease impairment and increase UE use in chronic stroke patients with moderate impairment. This finding is crucial, given the paucity of efficacious treatment approaches in this impairment level.

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Source: Functional Brain Stimulation in a Chronic Stroke Survivor With Moderate Impairment | American Journal of Occupational Therapy

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[Abstract] Supporting Stroke Motor Recovery Through a Mobile Application: A Pilot Study

Abstract

Neuroplasticity and motor learning are promoted with repetitive movement, appropriate challenge, and performance feedback. ARMStrokes, a smartphone application, incorporates these qualities to support motor recovery. Engaging exercises are easily accessible for improved compliance. In a multiple-case, mixed-methods pilot study, the potential of this technology for stroke motor recovery was examined. Exercises calibrated to the participant’s skill level targeted forearm, elbow, and shoulder motions for a 6-wk protocol. Visual, auditory, and vibration feedback promoted self-assessment. Pre- and posttest data from 6 chronic stroke survivors who used the app in different ways (i.e., to measure active or passive motion, to track endurance) demonstrated improvements in accuracy of movements, fatigue, range of motion, and performance of daily activities. Statistically significant changes were not obtained with this pilot study. Further study on the efficacy of this technology is supported.

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Source: Supporting Stroke Motor Recovery Through a Mobile Application: A Pilot Study | American Journal of Occupational Therapy

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[Abstract] Strength of knee flexors of the paretic limb as an important determinant of functional status in post-stroke rehabilitation

Abstract

Objective

The purpose of the study was to assess the effectiveness of the multi-modal exercise program (MMEP) in patients after stroke, and to identify muscles that are the best predictors of functional performance and changes in functional status in a 3-week rehabilitation program.

Methods

Thirty-one post-stroke patients (60.6 ± 12.7 years) participating in a 3-week MMEP took part in the study. Measurements of extensor and flexor strength of the knee (FextFflex) were done. Functional performance was measured using Timed Up & Go test (TUG), 6-Minute Walk Test (6-MWT) and Tinetti Test.

Results

The rehabilitation program improved all the results of functional tests, as well as the values of strength in the patients. Both baseline and post-rehabilitation functional status was associated with knee flexor and extensor muscle strength of paretic but not of non-paretic limbs. At baseline examination muscle strength difference between both Fflex kg−1and Fext kg−1 had an influence on functional status. After rehabilitation the effect of muscle strength difference on functional status was not evident for Fext kg−1 and, interestingly, even more prominent for Fflex kg−1.

Conclusions

MMEP can effectively increase muscle strength and functional capacity in post-stroke patients. Knee flexor muscle strength of the paretic limb and the knee flexor difference between the limbs is the best predictor of functional performance in stroke survivors

Source: Strength of knee flexors of the paretic limb as an important determinant of functional status in post-stroke rehabilitation

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[BLOG POST] Study Compares Intento Device and Traditional Occupational Therapy  

The Intento device is designed to enable patients to control the functional electronic stimulation that they receive, to help patients regain mobility in arms weakened by a stroke.

The Intento device is designed to enable patients to control the functional electronic stimulation that they receive, to help them regain mobility in arms weakened by a stroke.

A device from Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne startup company Intento is designed to enable stroke patients to self-administer functional electrical stimulation to help regain mobility in their arms weakened by the stroke.

The system consists of electrode patches, a device the patients control using their working hand, and tablet software. The therapist selects one of several programmed movements on the tablet and loads it, with a single click, onto the device. The program shows where the electrodes need to be placed and automatically configures the electrical pulse settings to generate the desired movement. Patients then move their functioning hand to control the electrical stimulation needed.

The ultimate aim is for patients to eventually perform the movements without using the device, explains a media release from Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale.

Results from a study investigating Intento’s device were published recently in Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

In the study, researchers from Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) compared the device to conventional occupational therapy among 11 patients who were severely paralyzed as the result of a stroke. These patients experienced the stroke more than 6 months prior to the study, and other therapies did not work for them.

Over a period of 10 days, the 11 patients underwent 1.5-hour sessions using the Intento device.

Their mobility results from using the device were then compared to the results following conventional occupational therapy conducted over the same amount of time. The patients’ mobility was measured before and after each type of treatment, according to the release.

The results suggest that 70% of the patients experienced significant improvement in their motor functions, versus only 30% of the patients with the conventional occupational therapy.

“Above and beyond the study’s findings, several of the patients told us a few weeks later that they were already using their arms more than before,” says Andrea Maesani, Intento’s CEO and other cofounder, in the release.

Patients were still making steady progress 6 months after the study was conducted, suggesting that the treatment produces long-term effects, according to the release.

The next step will be a clinical study on a larger group before marketing the device, the founders state in the release.

[Source(s): Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale, EurekAlert]

Source: Study Compares Intento Device and Traditional Occupational Therapy – Rehab Managment

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[Abstract] Exergaming for individuals with neurological disability: a systematic review

Introduction: Exergames have the potential to enable persons with disabilities to take part in physical activities that are of appropriate “dose-potency” and enjoyable within a relatively safe home environment. It overcomes some of the challenges regarding transportation difficulties in getting to commercial gymnasium facilities, reducing physical activities perceived as “boring” or getting access into the built environment that may be “wheelchair unfriendly”. Objective: This systematic review assessed available evidence whether “exergaming” could be a feasible modality for contributing to a recommended exercise prescription according to current ACSM™ or WHO guidelines for physical activity. Methods: Strategies used to search for published articles were conducted using separate search engines (Google Scholar™, PubMed™ and Web of Science™) on cardiometabolic responses and perceived exertion during exergaming among neurologically-disabled populations possessing similar physical disabilities. Each study was categorized using the SCIRE-Pedro evidence scale. Results: Ten of the 144 articles assessed were identified and met specific inclusion criteria. Key outcome measures included responses, such as energy expenditure, heart rate and perceived exertion. Twelve out of the 17 types of exergaming interventions met the ACSM™ or WHO recommendations of “moderate intensity” physical activity. Exergames such as Wii Jogging, Bicycling, Boxing, DDR and GameCycle reported moderate physical activity intensities. While Wii Snowboarding, Skiing and Bowling only produced light intensities. Conclusion: Preliminary cross-sectional evidence in this review suggested that exergames have the potential to provide moderate intensity physical activity as recommended by ACSM™ or WHO in populations with neurological disabilities. However, more research is needed to document exergaming’s efficacy from longitudinal observations before definitive conclusions can be drawn.

  • Implications for Rehabilitation
  • Exergaming can be deployed as physical activity or exercise using commercially available game consoles for neurologically disabled individuals in the convenience of their home environment and at a relatively inexpensive cost

  • Moderate-to-vigorous intensity exercises can be achieved during exergaming in this population of persons with neurological disabilities. Exergaming can also be engaging and enjoyable, yet achieve the recommended physical activity guidelines proposed by ACSM™ or WHO for health and fitness benefits.

  • Exergaming as physical activity in this population is feasible for individuals with profound disabilities, since it can be used even in sitting position for wheelchair-dependent users, thus providing variability in terms of exercise options.

  • In the context of comprehensive rehabilitation, exergaming should be viewed by the clinician as “at least as good as” (and likely more enjoyable) than traditional arm-exercise modalities, with equivalent aerobic dose-potency as “traditional” exercise in clinic or home environments.

Source: Exergaming for individuals with neurological disability: a systematic review: Disability and Rehabilitation: Vol 39, No 8

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[Abstract] Upper limb motor training using a Saebo™ orthosis is feasible for increasing task-specific practice in hospital after stroke

Abstract

Background/aim

Assistive technologies have the potential to increase the amount of movement practice provided during inpatient stroke rehabilitation. The primary aim of this study was to investigate the feasibility of using the Saebo-Flex device in a subacute stroke setting to increase task-specific practice for people with little or no active hand movement. The secondary aim was to collect preliminary data comparing hand/upper limb function between a control group that received usual rehabilitation and an intervention group that used, in addition, the Saebo-Flex device.

Methods

Nine inpatients (mean three months (median six weeks) post-stroke) participated in this feasibility study conducted in an Australian rehabilitation setting, using a randomised pre-test and post-test design with concealed allocation and blinded outcome assessment. In addition to usual rehabilitation, the intervention group received eight weeks of daily motor training using the Saebo-Flex device. The control group received usual rehabilitation (task-specific motor training) only. Participants were assessed at baseline (pre-randomisation) and at the end of the eight-week study period. Feasibility was assessed with respect to ease of recruitment, application of the device, compliance with the treatment programme and safety. Secondary outcome measures included the Motor Assessment Scale (upper limb items), Box and Block Test, grip strength and the Stroke Impact Scale.

Results

Recruitment to the study was very slow because of the low number of patients with little or no active hand movement. Otherwise, the study was feasible in terms of being able to apply the Saebo-Flex device and compliance with the treatment programme. There were no adverse events, and a greater amount of upper limb rehabilitation was provided to the intervention group. While there were trends in favour of the intervention group, particularly for dexterity, no between-group differences were seen for any of the secondary outcomes.

Conclusions

This pilot feasibility study showed that the use of assistive technology, specifically the Saebo-Flex device, could be successfully used in a sample of stroke patients with little or no active hand movement. However, recruitment to the trial was very slow. The use of the Saebo-FlexTM device had variable results on outcomes, with some positive trends seen in hand function, particularly dexterity.

Source: Upper limb motor training using a Saebo™ orthosis is feasible for increasing task-specific practice in hospital after stroke – Lannin – 2016 – Australian Occupational Therapy Journal – Wiley Online Library

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[Abstract+References] A therapy-driven gamification framework for hand rehabilitation

Abstract

Rehabilitative therapy is usually very expensive and confined to specialized rehabilitation centers or hospitals, leading to slower recovery times for corresponding patients. Therefore, there is a high demand for the development of technology-based personalized solutions to guide and encourage patients towards performing online rehabilitation program that can help them live independently at home. This paper introduces an innovative e-health framework that develops adaptive serious games for people with hand disabilities. The aim of this work is to provide a patient-adaptive environment for the gamification of hand therapies in order to facilitate and encourage rehabilitation issues. Theoretical foundations (i.e., therapy and patient models) and algorithms to match therapy-based hand gestures to navigational movements in 3D space within the serious game environment have been developed. A novel game generation module is introduced, which translates those movements into a 3D therapy-driven route on a real-world map and with different levels of difficulty based on the patient profile and capabilities. In order to enrich the user navigation experience, a 3D spatio-temporal validation region is also generated, which tracks and adjusts the patient movements throughout the session. The gaming environment also creates and adds semantics to different types of attractive and repellent objects in space depending on the difficulty level of the game. Relevant benchmarks to assess the patient interaction with the environment along with a usability and performance testing of our framework are introduced to ensure quantitative as well as qualitative improvements. Trial tests in one disability center were conducted with a total number of five subjects, having hand motor controls problems, who used our gamified physiotherapy solution to help us in measuring the usability and users’ satisfaction levels. The obtained results and feedback from therapists and patients are very encouraging.

Source: A therapy-driven gamification framework for hand rehabilitation | SpringerLink

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[ARTICLE] The Use of Functional Electrical Stimulation on the Upper Limb and Interscapular Muscles of Patients with Stroke for the Improvement of Reaching Movements: A Feasibility Study

Introduction: Reaching movements in stroke patients are characterized by decreased amplitudes at the shoulder and elbow joints and greater displacements of the trunk, compared to healthy subjects. The importance of an appropriate and specific contraction of the interscapular and upper limb (UL) muscles is crucial to achieving proper reaching movements. Functional electrical stimulation (FES) is used to activate the paretic muscles using short-duration electrical pulses.

Objective: To evaluate whether the application of FES in the UL and interscapular muscles of stroke patients with motor impairments of the UL modifies patients’ reaching patterns, measured using instrumental movement analysis systems.

Design: A cross-sectional study was carried out.

Setting: The VICON Motion System® was used to conduct motion analysis.

Participants: Twenty-one patients with chronic stroke.

Intervention: The Compex® electric stimulator was used to provide muscle stimulation during two conditions: a placebo condition and a FES condition.

Main outcome measures: We analyzed the joint kinematics (trunk, shoulder, and elbow) from the starting position until the affected hand reached the glass.

Results: Participants receiving FES carried out the movement with less trunk flexion, while shoulder flexion elbow extension was increased, compared to placebo conditions.

Conclusion: The application of FES to the UL and interscapular muscles of stroke patients with motor impairment of the UL has improved reaching movements.

Introduction

Reaching movements in stroke patients are characterized by decreased amplitudes at the shoulder and elbow joints compared to healthy subjects (16). The movement pattern of patients with stroke is highly related to their level of motor function impairment, which becomes modified due to the lack of inter-articular coordination (1). There is a decrease in the range of motion at the elbow joint with a tendency toward flexion, which avoids correct extension of the upper limb (UL), hampering the ability to perform appropriate reaching movements. Excessive shoulder abduction is also observed as a compensatory movement when there is a lack of appropriate shoulder flexion (7).

In the case of the trunk, greater trunk displacements have been observed in patients with stroke, forward displacements, and torsion movements, which are related to deficits in elbow extension, and shoulder flexion and adduction, as compensatory mechanisms that occur during reaching movements or other activity. Patients are able to develop new motor strategies to achieve their goal despite UL deficits (17). There is a greater involvement of the trunk and scapula during the execution of reaching movements due to the creation of new movement strategies to compensate for the deficiencies (8).

The scientific literature has shown that stroke patients need to create new movement strategies. This involves the development of pathological synergies to carry out the desired movements. An example of this is the excessive movements of the trunk and scapula to compensate the deficiencies resulting from the pathology (7). Proper activation of the interscapular muscles depends on the position of the trunk. Stroke patients, due to the deficits affecting their trunk and scapular movement patterns, are under unfavorable conditions for being able to perform appropriate and selective activation of these muscles, which has a negative impact on the movement of the UL (911).

Regarding the UL muscles involved in reaching movements, a deficit in muscle control and activation has been observed (51213). The synergistic contraction of the shoulder flexor and extensor muscles during reach becomes deteriorated due to muscle weakness and; therefore, the resulting movement is deficient (14). Furthermore, spastic muscle patterns may also prevent the correct performance of UL movements (1518).

Functional electrical stimulation (FES) is a form of treatment that seeks to activate the paretic muscles using short-duration electrical pulses applied via surface electrodes through the skin (19). The use of FES and neuroprostheses has spanned almost four decades (2021). The use of FES as a neuroprosthesis consists of self-treatment at home by means of a neuroprosthetic neuromuscular stimulation system. The objective of this modality is to assist the performance of an activity of daily living (ADL) (22). Recently, functional and clinical improvements have been reported with the therapeutic application of FES, in which stimulation was used to increase voluntary movement after stroke (2223). Therapeutic FES modalities have been used to recruit UL muscles, improving weakness, the dyscoordination of single and multiple joints movements, and spasticity (24).

Most studies employing therapeutic FES for paretic UL rehabilitation are based on stimulation of the shoulder, elbow, and wrist muscles without recruitment of the interscapular muscles (2528). The importance of an appropriate and specific contraction of the interscapular musculature during UL movement is necessary to adapt the position of the scapulothoracic joint to the degree of movement of the glenohumeral joint. This musculature has a stabilizing function upon the entire glenohumeral complex, which is necessary for a correct reaching movement (2931). In healthy subjects, the posture of the trunk has been shown to influence changes in scapular movement and interscapular muscle activity during UL elevation (2932). The motor control of shoulder movement influences the correct and proper activation and synchronization of these muscles (33).

In this study, we tested the ability of a FES system to assist the UL movement of stroke patients based on the stimulation of interscapular, shoulder, elbow, wrist, and finger muscles. To our knowledge, no empirical study to date directly addresses this question. The authors hypothesized that participants receiving FES to the UL and interscapular muscles would be able to perform the movement with less trunk anteroposterior tilt and major shoulder flexion and elbow extension. The aim of this feasibility study was to evaluate whether the application of FES to the UL and interscapular muscles of stroke patients with UL motor impairment would be able to modify their reaching patterns, measured using instrumental movement analysis systems.[…]

Continue —> Frontiers | The Use of Functional Electrical Stimulation on the Upper Limb and Interscapular Muscles of Patients with Stroke for the Improvement of Reaching Movements: A Feasibility Study | Neurology

Figure 1. Patient with the functional electrical stimulation device.

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[Abstract] Interactive design of patient-oriented video-games for rehabilitation: concept and application

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Purpose: Serious video-games are innovative tools used to train the motor skills of subjects affected by neurological disorders. They are often developed to train a specific type of patients and the rules of the game are standardly defined. A system that allows the therapist to design highly patient-oriented video-games, without specific informatics skills, is proposed.

Method: The system consists of one personal computer, two screens, a Kinect™ sensor and a specific software developed here for the design of the video-games. It was tested with the collaboration of three therapists and six patients, and two questionnaires were filled in by each patient to evaluate the appreciation of the rehabilitative sessions.

Results: The therapists learned easily how to use the system, and no serious difficulties were encountered by the patients. The questionnaires showed an overall good satisfaction by the patients and highlighted the key-role of the therapist in involving the patients during the rehabilitative session.

Conclusions: It was found that the proposed system is effective for developing patient-oriented video-games for rehabilitation. The two main advantages are that the therapist is allowed to (i) develop personalized video-games without informatics skills and (ii) adapt the game settings to patients affected by different pathologies.

Implications for rehabilitation

Virtual reality and serious video games offer the opportunity to transform the traditional therapy into a more pleasant experience, allowing patients to train their motor and cognitive skills.

Both the therapists and the patients should be involved in the development of rehabilitative solutions to be highly patient-oriented.

A system for the design of rehabilitative games by the therapist is described and the feedback of three therapists and six patients is reported.

Virtual reality and serious video games offer the opportunity to transform the traditional therapy into a more pleasant experience, allowing patients to train their motor and cognitive skills.

Both the therapists and the patients should be involved in the development of rehabilitative solutions to be highly patient-oriented.

A system for the design of rehabilitative games by the therapist is described and the feedback of three therapists and six patients is reported.

Source: Interactive design of patient-oriented video-games for rehabilitation: concept and application

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[Abstract] Hand strengthening exercises in chronic stroke patients: Dose-response evaluation using electromyography

Abstract

Study Design

Cross-sectional.

Purpose of the Study

This study evaluates finger flexion and extension strengthening exercises using elastic resistance in chronic stroke patients.

Methods

Eighteen stroke patients (mean age: 56.8 ± 7.6 years) with hemiparesis performed 3 consecutive repetitions of finger flexion and extension, using 3 different elastic resistance levels (easy, moderate, and hard). Surface electromyography was recorded from the flexor digitorum superficialis (FDS) and extensor digitorum (ED) muscles and normalized to the maximal electromyography of the non-paretic arm.

Results

Maximal grip strength was 39.2 (standard deviation: 12.5) and 7.8 kg (standard deviation: 9.4) in the nonparetic and paretic hand, respectively. For the paretic hand, muscle activity was higher during finger flexion exercise than during finger extension exercise for both ED (30% [95% confidence interval {CI}: 19-40] vs 15% [95% CI: 5-25] and FDS (37% [95% CI: 27-48] vs 24% [95% CI: 13-35]). For the musculature of both the FDS and ED, no dose-response association was observed for resistance and muscle activity during the flexion exercise (P > .05).

Conclusion

The finger flexion exercise showed higher muscle activity in both the flexor and extensor musculature of the forearm than the finger extension exercise. Furthermore, greater resistance did not result in higher muscle activity during the finger flexion exercise. The present results suggest that the finger flexion exercise should be the preferred strengthening exercise to achieve high levels of muscle activity in both flexor and extensor forearm muscles in chronic stroke patients. The finger extension exercise may be performed with emphasis on improving neuromuscular control.

Level of Evidence

4b.

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