Archive for category REHABILITATION

[WEB SITE] Nootropics: Types, safety, and risks of smart drugs

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Nootropics, or “smart drugs,” are a class of substances that can boost brain performance. They are sometimes called cognition enhancers or memory enhancing substances.

Prescription nootropics are medications that have stimulant effects. They can counteract the symptoms of medical conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy, or Alzheimer’s disease.

Nonprescription substances that can enhance brain performance or focus — such as caffeine and creatine — are also considered nootropics. They do not treat diseases but may have some effects on thinking, memory, or other mental functions.

This article looks at prescription and nonprescription smart drugs, including their uses, side effects, and safety warnings.

Prescription nootropics

a woman taking nootropics at her desk.

A person may take a nootropic to treat ADHD, narcolepsy, or dementia.

Prescription nootropics include:

  • modafinil (Provigil), a stimulant that addresses the sudden drowsiness of narcolepsy
  • Adderall, which contains amphetamines to treat ADHD
  • methylphenidate (Ritalin), a stimulant that can manage symptoms of narcolepsy and ADHD
  • memantine (Axura), which treats symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease

While these can be effective in treating specific medical conditions, a person should not take them without a prescription.

Like any prescription medications, they carry risks of side effects and interactions, and a person should only take them under a doctor’s care.

Common side effects of prescription nootropics include:

Some evidence suggests that people who use prescription nootropics to improve brain function have a higher risk of impulsive behaviors, such as risky sexual practices.

Healthcare providers should work closely with people taking prescription nootropics to manage any side effects and monitor their condition.

Over-the-counter nootropics

The term “nootropic” can also refer to natural or synthetic supplements that boost mental performance. The following sections discuss nootropics that do not require a prescription.

Caffeine

Many people consume beverages that contain caffeine, such as coffee or tea, because of their stimulant effects. Studies suggest that caffeine is safe for most people in moderate amounts.

Having a regular cup of coffee or tea may be a good way to boost mental focus. However, extreme amounts of caffeine may not be safe.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommend that people consume no more than 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day. This is the amount in 4–5 cups of coffee.

Caffeine pills and powders can contain extremely high amounts of the stimulant. Taking them can lead to a caffeine overdose and even death, in rare cases.

Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant may need to limit or avoid caffeine intake. Studies have found that consuming 4 or more servings of caffeine a day is linked to a higher risk of pregnancy loss.

L-theanine

L-theanine is an amino acid that occurs in black and green teas. People can also take l-theanine supplements.

A 2016 review reported that l-theanine may increase alpha waves in the brain. Alpha waves may contribute to a relaxed yet alert mental state.

L-theanine may work well when paired with caffeine. Some evidence suggests that this combination helps boost cognitive performance and alertness. Anyone looking to consume l-theanine in tea should keep the FDA’s caffeine guidelines in mind.

There are no dosage guidelines for l-theanine, but many supplements recommend taking 100–400 mg per day.

Omega-3 fatty acids

person at desk holding omega 3 supplements in palm

Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids are important to fight against brain aging.

These polyunsaturated fats are found in fatty fish and fish oil supplements. This type of fat is important for brain health, and a person must get it from their diet.

Omega-3s help build membranes around the body’s cells, including the neurons. These fats are important for repairing and renewing brain cells.

A 2015 review found that omega-3 fatty acids protect against brain aging. Other research has concluded that omega-3s are important for brain and nervous system function.

However, a large analysis found “no benefit for cognitive function with omega‐3 [polyunsaturated fatty acids] supplementation among cognitively healthy older people.” The authors recommend further long term studies.

A person can get omega-3 supplements in various forms, including fish oil, krill oil, and algal oil.

These supplements carry a low risk of side effects when a person takes them as directed, but they may interact with medications that affect blood clotting. Ask a doctor before taking them.

Racetams

Racetams are synthetic compounds that can affect neurotransmitters in the brain. Some nootropic racetams include:

  • piracetam
  • pramiracetam
  • phenylpiracetam
  • aniracetam

A study conducted in rats suggests that piracetam may have neuroprotective effects.

One review states that “Some of the studies suggested there may be some benefit from piracetam, but, overall, the evidence is not consistent or positive enough to support its use for dementia or cognitive impairment.” Confirming this will require more research.

There is no set dosage for racetams, so a person should follow instructions and consult a healthcare provider. Overall, studies have no found adverse effects of taking racetams as directed.

Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo biloba is a tree native to China, Japan, and Korea. Its leaves are available as an herbal supplement.

2016 study found that gingko biloba is “potentially beneficial” for improving brain function, but confirming this will require more research.

Ginkgo biloba may help with dementia symptoms, according to one review, which reported the effects occurring in people who took more than 200 mg per day for at least 5 months.

However, the review’s authors note that more research is needed. Also, with prescription nootropics available, ginkgo biloba may not be the most safe or effective option.

Panax ginseng

Panax ginseng is a perennial shrub that grows in China and parts of Siberia. People use its roots for medicinal purposes.

People should not confuse Panax ginseng with other types of ginseng, such as Siberian or American varieties. These are different plants with different uses.

2018 review reports that Panax ginseng may help prevent certain brain diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease. It also may help with brain recovery after a stroke.

Panax ginseng interacts with many medications, so consult a doctor before taking it. A typical dosage for mental function is 100–600 mg once or twice a day.

Rhodiola

Some evidence suggests that Rhodiola rosea L., also known as rhodiola or roseroot, can help with cognitive ability.

One review reported that rhodiola may have neuroprotective effects and may help treat neurodegenerative diseases.

Another review found that rhodiola helped regulate neurotransmitters in the brain, having a positive effect on mood.

Rhodiola capsules have varying strengths. Usually, a person takes a capsule once or twice daily.

Creatine

Creatine is an amino acid, which is a building block of protein. This supplement is popular among athletes because it may help improve exercise performance. It may also have some effects on mental ability.

A 2018 review found that taking creatine appears to help with short term memory and reasoning. Whether it helps the brain in other ways is unclear.

The International Society of Sports Nutrition report that creatine supplementation of up to 30 grams per day is safe for healthy people to take for 5 years.

Another 2018 review notes that there has been limited research into whether this supplement is safe and effective for adolescent athletes.

Do nootropics work?

Some small studies show that some nootropic supplements can affect the brain. But there is a lack of evidence from large, controlled studies to show that some of these supplements consistently work and are completely safe.

Because of the lack of research, experts cannot say with certainty that over-the-counter nootropics improve thinking or brain function — or that everyone can safely use them.

For example, one report on cognitive enhancers found that there is not enough evidence to indicate that they are safe and effective for healthy people. The researchers also point to ethical concerns.

However, there is evidence that omega-3 fatty acids can benefit the brain and overall health. In addition, caffeine can improve mental focus in the short term.

Notes on the safety of nootropics

doctor and patient in office discussing adrenal cancer

A person should talk to a doctor about any interactions supplements may have with existing medications.

Also, some supplements may not contain what their labels say. A study of rhodiola products, for example, found that some contain contaminants or other ingredients not listed on the label.

For this reason, it is important to only purchase supplements from reputable companies that undergo independent testing.

BUYING NOOTROPICSA prescription is necessary for some nootropics, such as Provigil and Adderall. Over-the-counter nootropics are available in some supermarkets and drug stores, or people can choose between brands online:

Not all of these supplements are recommended by healthcare providers and some may interact with medications. Always speak to a doctor before trying a supplement.

Summary

Many doctors agree that the best way to boost brain function is to get adequate sleep, exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, and manage stress.

For people who want to boost their cognitive function, nootropic supplements may help, in some cases. Anyone interested in trying a nootropic should consult a healthcare professional about the best options.

 

via Nootropics: Types, safety, and risks of smart drugs

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[ARTICLE] Brain–computer interface and assist-as-needed model for upper limb robotic arm – Full Text

Post-stroke paralysis, whereby subjects loose voluntary control over muscle actuation, is one of the main causes of disability. Repetitive physical therapy can reinstate lost motions and strengths through neuroplasticity. However, manually delivered therapies are becoming ineffective due to scarcity of therapists, subjectivity in the treatment, and lack of patient motivation. Robot-assisted physical therapy is being researched these days to impart an evidence-based systematic treatment. Recently, intelligent controllers and brain–computer interface are proposed for rehabilitation robots to encourage patient participation which is the key to quick recovery. In the present work, a brain–computer interface and assist-as-needed training paradigm have been proposed for an upper limb rehabilitation robot. The brain–computer interface system is implemented with the use of electroencephalography sensor; moreover, backdrivability in the actuator has been achieved with the use of assist-as-needed control approach, which allows subjects to move the robot actively using their limited motions and strengths. The robot only assists for the remaining course of trajectory which subjects are unable to perform themselves. The robot intervention point is obtained from the patient’s intent which is captured through brain–computer interface. Problems encountered during the practical implementation of brain–computer interface and achievement of backdrivability in the actuator have been discussed and resolved.

The recovery of upper limb motions and strengths in patients with damaged neuromuscular system via robotic rehabilitation devices is a promising way of enhancing existing treatments and their efficacies. Various reasons may cause limb dysfunctions, including stroke, spinal cord injuries, or even ligament rupture. According to the World Health Organization, about 15 million people globally suffer from Cerebro-Vascular Accidents (CVAs) each year and up to 65% of these need limb recovery procedures.1 Only in the last 15 years, the number of CVA or stroke patients is increased by 40%, which is the result of a more intense pace of living, deterioration of ecology, and increased aging population.2 Considering these statistics, development of new and efficient ways of rehabilitation is just as important as implementation of improved prevention strategies.

For the last 20 years, robotics-based therapy was steadily paving its way for becoming an essential practice in rehabilitation medicine.3,4 According to the systematic review of Kwakkel et al.5 on the upper limb recovery using robot-aided therapy, repetitive, meaningful, labor-intensive treatment programs implemented with robotic devices provide positive impact for the restoration of functional abilities in human limbs. In medical terminology, a device that provides support, and aligns or improves the function of movable limbs is known as orthosis, and robotic devices intended to provide such treatment are called robotic orthoses.6 Particularly, two key directions gained major attention in the medical engineering research: robot-assisted therapy and functional electrical simulation (FES) therapy. The FES therapy describes a technique that stimulates weakened or paralyzed muscles on a human limb by applying electric charges externally. The goal of FES therapy is to reactivate the neural connections between a muscle and human’s sensorimotor system to enable patients’ ability to control their limbs without assistance.7 In the study by Popovic and others, the functional electrical therapy (FET) was applied with the use of surface electrodes and it was used to stimulate arm fingers of patients, this therapy has demonstrated positive therapeutic effects.8 It was revealed that daily 30-min therapy for 1-month period allowed improvement in movement range, speed, and increased strength in muscles. There are also side effects of FES-based treatment such as pain and irritation on the affected area, autonomic dysreflexia, increased spasticity, broken bones, and mild electric shocks from faulty equipment. However, the robot-assisted rehabilitation is non-invasive and free from above risks, and it is preferred for the rehabilitation of stroke survivors.

The important advantage of robotic devices is that they can reduce the burden on health care workers who traditionally had to conduct labor-intensive training sessions for patients. Equipped with sensors, intelligent controllers, and haptic and visual interfaces, robotic orthosis can have a potential to put the recovery process to a new level by collecting relevant data about various health parameters (pulse rate, body temperature, etc.) and adjusting the training modes accordingly. Besides the positive impacts of robot-based rehabilitation, the reliability of robot-based assistance is still questionable and adversely it may worsen the recovery progress made before, and that depends on the type of assistance control robot employs.9 Assist-as-needed (AAN) control type has become one of the prominent strategies recently which has been recommended positively from clinical trials.10 In order to stabilize the system, AAN-based approach has become subject to be researched by scientists. In the work done by Wolbrecht, AAN control is obtained from the adaptive control by incorporating novel force to address and decrease the system’s parametric errors.11 There are also other works which propose AAN type of control for their systems;1214 however, there are no works which have incorporated both BCI (brain–computer interface)- and AAN-based control approach into the system.

Owing to the recent advances in biosensors, especially in their robustness and signal processing, robot controllers equipped with bio-sensing are able to achieve intelligence with less complex algorithms. One of the most recent applications of BCI is in the domain of orthoses.1517 Newer instances of orthoses combine latest advances in control theory and brain activity. Berlin Technical University in cooperation with Korean University created an exoskeleton to maneuver lower limbs. A feature of this work is the use of non-invasive electroencephalography (EEG). The study involved 11 healthy men aged 25 to 32 years.18 First upper limb exoskeleton controlled by BCI was proposed by AA Frolov et al.19 Authors concluded that BCI inclusion improves the movements of the paretic hand in post-stroke patients irrespective of severity and localization of the disease. In addition, it was shown that duration of the training also increases effectiveness of rehabilitation.

Based on the letters on the screen, it was possible to determine native language of the patient in the work done by Vasileva.20 In this work, non-invasive EEG had been used. However, it was noted that non-invasive devices have less accuracy than professional medical EEG equipment. To improve signal detection, Agapov et al.21 have developed advanced algorithm of processing visually evoked potentials. To visualize stimuli, “eSpeller” software was developed.

Motivated by the above-mentioned successes and advances, in the present work, possible use of BCI is investigated in the rehabilitation robots for the treatment of stroke survivors. The aim of this work is to develop EEG-based mechatronic system that can receive electrical brain signals, detect emotions and gestures of the patient, and intelligently control robotic arm. In addition, to ensure smooth and compliant movement of the rehabilitation robot and improve treatment efficacy, AAN control paradigm is also considered. This research used EEG package and a controller to develop BCI system and realize AAN-based control. Developed system can help patients to control robot with their thoughts and enhance their participation in the rehabilitation process. Methodology of the current work is explained in the “Methodology” section, and in the subsequent sections, results are discussed before drawing conclusions from this research work.

EEG sensor

In order to register the brain activity, 16 EEG electrodes distributed around the patient’s head have been used. To provide more information which is related to motor imaginary signals, the frequency characteristics were extracted from the data by converting them from the time domain to the frequency domain. Furthermore, to distinguish between movement intentions and rest positions, bandpass filter in the range of 5 to 40 Hz was used.22,23 Since EEG data set recording can be very large, the powerful surface Laplacian technique was applied to lower the risk of influence from the neighboring neurons on the crucial cerebral cortex neurons.24 Finally, only dominant frequency of 13 to 30 Hz, also known as beta wave frequency, was featured according to Gropper et al.25 This band distinction was benchmarker as a sensible area of resting brain activity.

Abiding by the previous works associated with EEG signal processing in Iáñez et al.26 and Hortal et al.,27 the feature selection was reduced to the group of 29 features, which later were used for the further classification and predictive model construction.

After receiving data using an EEG, algorithm needs to determine the desired effect for the user. Input data for this algorithm are EEG signals recorded during the demonstration of stimuli. In most of the currently existing studies on this subject, the problem of classifying signals is divided into three large subtasks:

  • Preprocessing the signal (in order to remove noise components);
  • Formation of a feature space;
  • Classification of objects in the constructed feature space.

It should be noted that the greatest influence on the final quality of the classification is made by the extent to which the task of forming the feature space was successfully accomplished. The general scheme of operation of BCI is depicted in Figure 1.


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Figure 1. Block diagram of BCI interface.

 

[…]

Continue —>  Brain–computer interface and assist-as-needed model for upper limb robotic arm – Akim Kapsalyamov, Shahid Hussain, Askhat Sharipov, Prashant Jamwal, 2019

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Figure 4. (a) ELA actuated upper limb rehabilitation robot, (b) upper limb rehabilitation robot in use, and (c) robotic orthosis in use with EEG sensor.

 

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[BOOK] Virtual Reality for Psychological and Neurocognitive Interventions

Virtual Reality for Psychological and Neurocognitive Interventions

  • Albert “Skip” Rizzo
  • Stéphane Bouchard

Part of the Virtual Reality Technologies for Health and Clinical Applications book series (VRTHCA)

Table of contents

Search within book

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xii

  1. William S. Ryan, Jessica Cornick, Jim Blascovich, Jeremy N. Bailenson
    Pages 15-46
  2. Berenice Serrano, Cristina Botella, Brenda K. Wiederhold, Rosa M. Baños
    Pages 47-84
  3. Melissa Peskin, Brittany Mello, Judith Cukor, Megan Olden, JoAnn Difede
    Pages 85-102
  4. Stéphane Bouchard, Mylène Laforest, Pedro Gamito, Georgina Cardenas-Lopez
    Pages 103-130
  5. Patrick S. Bordnick, Micki Washburn
    Pages 131-161
  6. Giuseppe Riva, José Gutiérrez-Maldonado, Antonios Dakanalis, Marta Ferrer-García
    Pages 163-193
  7. Hunter G. Hoffman, Walter J. Meyer III, Sydney A. Drever, Maryam Soltani, Barbara Atzori, Rocio Herrero et al.
    Pages 195-208
  8. Dominique Trottier, Mathieu Goyette, Massil Benbouriche, Patrice Renaud, Joanne-Lucine Rouleau, Stéphane Bouchard
    Pages 209-225
  9. Thomas D. Parsons, Albert “Skip” Rizzo
    Pages 247-265
  10. P. J. Standen, David J. Brown
    Pages 267-287
  11. Roos Pot-Kolder, Wim Veling, Willem-Paul Brinkman, Mark van der Gaag
    Pages 289-305
  12. Pierre Nolin, Jérémy Besnard, Philippe Allain, Frédéric Banville
    Pages 307-326
  13. Lindsay A. Yazzolino, Erin C. Connors, Gabriella V. Hirsch, Jaime Sánchez, Lotfi B. Merabet
    Pages 361-385
  14. Thomas Talbot, Albert “Skip” Rizzo
    Pages 387-405
  15. Back Matter

    Pages 407-415

About this book

Introduction

This exciting collection tours virtual reality in both its current therapeutic forms and its potential to transform a wide range of medical and mental health-related fields. Extensive findings track the contributions of VR devices, systems, and methods to accurate assessment, evidence-based and client-centered treatment methods, and—as described in a stimulating discussion of virtual patient technologies—innovative clinical training. Immersive digital technologies are shown enhancing opportunities for patients to react to situations, therapists to process patients’ physiological responses, and scientists to have greater control over test conditions and access to results. Expert coverage details leading-edge applications of VR across a broad spectrum of psychological and neurocognitive conditions, including:

  • Treating anxiety disorders and PTSD.
  • Treating developmental and learning disorders, including Autism Spectrum Disorder,
  • Assessment of and rehabilitation from stroke and traumatic brain injuries.
  • Assessment and treatment of substance abuse.
  • Assessment of deviant sexual interests.
  • Treating obsessive-compulsive and related disorders.
  • Augmenting learning skills for blind persons.

Readable and relevant, Virtual Reality for Psychological and Neurocognitive Interventions is an essential idea book for neuropsychologists, rehabilitation specialists (including physical, speech, vocational, and occupational therapists), and neurologists. Researchers across the behavioral and social sciences will find it a roadmap toward new and emerging areas of study.

via Virtual Reality for Psychological and Neurocognitive Interventions | SpringerLink

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[ARTICLE] Mirror Therapy Using Gesture Recognition for Upper Limb Function, Neck Discomfort, and Quality of Life After Chronic Stroke: A Single-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial – Full Text

Abstract

Background

Mirror therapy for stroke patients was reported to be effective in improving upper-extremity motor function and daily life activity performance. In addition, game-based virtual reality can be realized using a gesture recognition (GR) device, and various tasks can be presented. Therefore, this study investigated changes in upper-extremity motor function, quality of life, and neck discomfort when using a GR device for mirror therapy to observe the upper extremities reflected in the mirror.

Material/Methods

A total of 36 subjects with chronic stroke were randomly divided into 3 groups: GR mirror therapy (n=12), conventional mirror therapy (n=12), and control (n=12) groups. The GR therapy group performed 3D motion input device-based mirror therapy, the conventional mirror therapy group underwent general mirror therapy, and the control group underwent sham therapy. Each group underwent 15 (30 min/d) intervention sessions (3 d/wk for 5 weeks). All subjects were assessed by manual function test, neck discomfort score, and Short-Form 8 in pre- and post-test.

Results

Upper-extremity function, depression, and quality of life in the GR mirror therapy group were significantly better than in the control group. The changes of neck discomfort in the conventional mirror therapy and control groups were significantly greater than in the GR mirror therapy group.

Conclusions

We found that GR device-based mirror therapy is an intervention that improves upper-extremity function, neck discomfort, and quality of life in patients with chronic stroke.

Background

In patients with acute stroke that occurred >6 months previously, 85% have upper-limb disorders, and 55% to 75% have upper-limb disorders []. The upper-limb movement function is decreased due to weakening of upper-limb muscles, which is primarily caused by changes in the central nervous system and secondarily by weakness due to inactivity and reduced activity [,].

Activities of daily living are limited due to body dysfunction, and most stroke patients have limited social interaction; these disorders reduce the quality of life []. In addition, stroke patients may experience depression due to reduced motivation []. Depression results in loss of interest and joy, anxiety, fear, hostility, sadness, and anger, which negatively affect functional recovery and rehabilitation in stroke patients [].

Constraint-induced movement therapy, action observation training, and mirror therapy have been recently studied as therapies for upper-extremity motor function []. These interventions are used to increase the use of paralyzed limbs to overcome disuse syndromes, observe and imitate movement, and change the neural network involved in movement. Providing various tasks in upper-extremity rehabilitation is necessary and virtual reality is used as a method for providing various tasks [,].

Interventions using virtual reality require cognitive factors, such as judgment and memory, as the task progresses. It can use visual and auditory stimuli, and can induce interest and motivation, helping stroke patients to be mentally stable and motivated []. Gesture recognition (GR) is a topic that studies the reading of these movements using algorithms. These GR algorithms mainly focus on the movement of arm, hands, eyes, legs, and other body parts. The main idea is to capture body movements using capture devices and send the acquired data to a computer []. A remarkable example is shown in physical rehabilitation, where the low-cost hardware and algorithms accomplish outstanding results in therapy of patients with mobility issues. A 3D motion input device is required for upper-body rehabilitation in virtual reality. The Leap motion controller, a GR input device, has been recently released, which monitors hand and finger movements and reflects them on the monitor []. In addition, game-based virtual reality can be realized using a GR device, and various tasks can be presented.

Mirror therapy has been used as a therapeutic intervention for phantom pain in amputees. The painful and paralyzed body parts are covered with a mirror. The mirror is placed in the center of the body, and the movement of the paralyzed body is viewed through the mirror. The patient has a visual illusion that the paralyzed side is normally moving []. Mirror therapy for stroke patients was reported to be effective in upper-extremity motor function and daily life activity performance []. However, conventional mirror therapy methods require high concentration and can become tedious, making active participation difficult []. In addition, conventional mirror therapy differs from the actual situation wherein a mirror positioned at the center of the body should be viewed with the head sideways. Because patients are in a suboptimal posture, they may have neck discomfort after mirror therapy. The body has muscle strength disproportion when maintaining poor posture for a long time. This results in inadequate tension on adjacent muscles and joints, resulting in movement restriction, reduced flexibility, pain, and changes in bone and soft tissue [].

This study investigated the effect on upper-extremity motor function, quality of life, and neck discomfort by using GR device mirror therapy in patients with chronic stroke, and evaluated the efficacy of this technique.

[…]

 

Continue —>  Mirror Therapy Using Gesture Recognition for Upper Limb Function, Neck Discomfort, and Quality of Life After Chronic Stroke: A Single-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial

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Figure 2
(A) Gesture recognition mirror therapy group, (B) Conventional mirror therapy, (C) Control group.

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[WEB SITE] Is Stem Cell Therapy Effective?

Is stem cell therapy safe and effective?

Find out if the therapy is beneficial for a specific disease,
how and why it works and what the treatment involves

This article is written by Eremin Ilya – Vice Director for Science and Research at Swiss Medica clinic.

Swiss Medica specializes in the most cutting edge stem cell therapies for 8 years. Their head office is based in Switzerland and they have treatment centers in Russia, Moscow and Serbia, Belgrade.
As a result, patients have seen a halt in the progression and/or symptoms of a vast array of diseases, such as arthritis, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, autism, Parkinson’s and other hard to treat diseases.

What are stem cells?
Stem cells are the unique types of cells that are able to replicate itself and to launch the regeneration processes. Stem cells are circulating into the body and looking for damaged areas to repair them. They are also able to put out the inflammation.

This helps to eliminate the cause of the disorders, to reduce its symptoms or even to get a full recovery, depends on the initial condition. And the most important, stem cell treatment is a gentle way of healing that is safe and side-effect free in most cases.

When you undergo cell-based treatment, you get 100+ million viable stem cells in one dose. Cells are harvested from the patient’s body and then cultivated to this quantity. Donated stem cells can be also used for immediate treatment.

Not for all cases, but there is a high percentage of getting health improvements that can be reached in variety diseases.

 

What are the expected results?
Using stem cells in therapy helps to reduce symptoms and can even stop or reverse the progression of some diseases, mostly autoimmune and/or diseases associated with tissue damage. These types of cells trigger the healing process and help to:

– relieve inflammation;
– reduce pain;
– repair wounds and damaged tissues;
– stimulate the formation of neurons and new blood vessels;
– restore lost functions;
– eliminate the signs of aging.

Depending on the patient’s condition, we use cell products based on autologous (patient’s own) or donor cells. Activated stem cells can be administered in several ways, depending on the purpose of the therapy, the disease, and the patient’s condition (IV, intrathecal, intramuscular, retrobulbar or local injection).

 

It is important to understand that stem cells are not a guaranteed cure for every disease.The patient may be denied stem cell procedures for various reasons. The effectiveness of the therapy for a particular disease depends on multiple factors: duration of the illness, age of the patient, the existence of chronic conditions, hereditary predisposition, lifestyle, etc.

Applying only stem cells for some cases may be not enough. Cell therapy works more effectively when combined with other therapeutic methods that help decrease inflammation, restore mobility, activate the tissue repair process

 

How do stem cells work?
The main therapeutic effect of stem cells is their ability to produce cytokines and growth factors in the intercellular space. These special chemicals are able to activate the regenerative functions of distant cells and promote tissue recovery. This mechanism is called paracrine regulation.

Cytokines help block the signals of inflammation in various diseases, including autoimmune processes [1]. An important feature of these signal molecules is that their concentrations may be regulated by inflammation and may be strictly limited by the stage of tissue regeneration. We can boost the production of cytokines using cell products based on stromal cells, leading to improved function of the damaged tissue.

When stem cells are introduced into a patient’s body during therapy, they circulate in the blood system until they are attracted to proteins secreted around inflamed or damaged tissue. Stem cells then rush to that injured area and start producing:
– various growth factors (promoting tissue recovery);
– chemokines (helping cells to migrate);
– adhesion molecules (regulating cell interactions at the molecular level).

How the procedure is carried out?
First, the patient undergoes a full examination to determine the current state of health. Then specialist makes a conclusion about the appropriateness and expected effects of therapy.
Next, the question is whether self-sourced or donor stem cells will be used. In the first case, the biopsy is performed and stromal cells are isolated from the patient’s own biomaterial. Then the harvested cells are cultivated to the required volume. Usually, this takes 3-4 weeks depending on the proliferative potential of the MMSCs. After that, the cultivated cells can be used for therapy or stored in a cryobank for an unlimited period of time. In the case of donor cells, the cell product can be used immediately in the initial treatment.

The use of cell products is carried out under medical supervision. The volume of cell mass required for treatment is calculated depending on the patient’s body weight. Before use, a test for sterility and infectious/bacteriological safety is carried out. Then a passport of the cell product is drawn up. This passport indicates the name of the cell product, the source of cells, date of extraction, cells characteristics, description of final product formulation, etc.

When the cell product is ready for use, it can be administered in several ways, depending on the purpose of therapy, the disease, and the patient’s condition:

  • IV drip;
  • Intramuscularly;
  • Intrathecal (spinal tap);
  • Retrobulbar (in the eye area);
  • Locally (cutaneous covering, joint, cavernous bodies of the penis, etc.).

What are the indications, contraindications and side effects?

Treatment with cell products is usually appealed in cases where the standard therapy of the underlying disease is not adequately effective or is associated with complications.

Before therapy, it is necessary to exclude contraindications for cell treatment, including:
– Previous bad experience with cell products;
– Any acute infectious disease;
– Cancer or a precancerous condition;
– Stroke or transient ischemic attack in the last 3 months;
– Deviations of some indicators in blood tests;
– Mental disorders and addictions;
– Contraindications to anesthesia and/or high risk of bleeding and/or pathological processes in the area of the proposed biopsy (does not exclude the possibility of using donor cell products);
– Pregnancy and lactation, and some others.

Along with the expected improvements in cell therapy, unwanted side effects are rare and include allergic and pyrogenic posttransfusion reactions (short-term fever), which are both easily managed.

In a majority of cases, it is possible to decline the manifestations of the disease, weaken pain symptoms, and correct the function that was affected. The therapies generally improve the standard of living.

Safety of stem cell therapy
The procedures are usually well tolerated in the majority of patients. Clinical trial results confirmed the safety of local injections and treatment with MMSCs from the perspective of tumor formation after a follow-up period [6]. Individual intolerance (short-term fever), while rare, cannot be excluded. Swiss Medica specialists will monitor your condition for safer and more beneficial results. [2], [3].
When it comes to improvement?
It usually takes a few weeks or months until transplanted cells start to fully take effect, although the first improvements can be felt in the days after administration. Often, reduced pain, enhanced mobility of affected joints, improved energy and activity, improved indicators of diagnostic tests can be realized relatively quickly.

Transplanted stem cells are active for 3 months on average, 6 months as a maximum. After this period, the stem cells are no longer active, but the processes started by them continue. A complex effect is possible where not only the manifestations of the underlying disease are reduced, but also the general condition of the patient is improved.

Your doctor may recommend you to seek a second consultation after 3 and/or 6 months after cell introduction in order to assess the effectiveness of the therapy. To achieve a greater and more persistent effect, the therapy can be repeated after a recommended period of time. […]

 

For more visit site —->  Swiss Medica Article – Is Stem Cell Therapy Effective?

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[WEB PAGE] Regulating blood supply to limbs improves stroke recovery: Noninvasive technique could treat wide variety of stroke patients

Noninvasive technique could treat wide variety of stroke patients

Date:
August 19, 2019
Source:
Society for Neuroscience
Summary:
Cutting off and then restoring blood supply to a limb following a stroke reduces tissue damage and swelling and improves functional recovery, according to a new study.
FULL STORY

Cutting off and then restoring blood supply to a limb following a stroke reduces tissue damage and swelling and improves functional recovery, according to a new study in mice published in JNeurosci. The simple, noninvasive technique could be developed into a treatment for stroke patients of varying severity.

Sunghee Cho and colleagues at Burke Neurological Institute treated mice that experienced a stroke with remote ischemic limb conditioning and tested the monocyte levels in their blood. The research team found that the ratio of inflammatory to non-inflammatory monocytes circulating in the blood increased, resulting in more available inflammatory cells.

Surprisingly, the increase in circulating inflammatory cells was associated with reduced brain tissue damage and swelling and improved motor function. The symptoms improved for both moderate and severe strokes, indicating the potential for wide application as a stroke treatment.

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via Regulating blood supply to limbs improves stroke recovery: Noninvasive technique could treat wide variety of stroke patients — ScienceDaily

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[Abstract] Virtual reality for stroke rehabilitation: characteristics of protocols, pilot and feasibility studies

Abstract

Introduction: Virtual reality (VR) for stroke rehabilitation is a therapeutic intervention expected to follow the randomized control trials (RCTs) requirements. This study aimed to identify the characteristics of protocols, pilot and feasibility studies reporting stroke rehabilitation with VR methods.

Materials and methods: A systematic study was conducted regarding publications reporting on the use of VR for stroke rehabilitation. PubMed, Web of Science, and Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers bibliographic databases were searched on March 2019. The keywords were (“stroke” or “stroke rehabilitation” or “neurological rehabilitation”) and (“virtual reality” or “virtual reality game” or “computer-aided therapy” or “assisted therapy”) and (“quality of life” or “activities of daily living”). All eligible studies published in English were included. The following were collected: experimental design, inclusion criteria for participants, age range, VR intervention, comparative intervention, the primary and secondary outcome.

Results: Title and abstract screening stage had 326 studies, 60 entered the full-text screening stage. Five study protocols of RCTs, 1 protocol for feasibility study, 3 pilot studies and 2 feasibility studies were fully evaluated. All articles provided a structured abstract, 7 were registered in a RCT registry. All RCTs were assessor-blinded, with one exception. The upper extremity in adults was the target of the VR rehabilitation in 9/10 cases, only 2 provided the diagnostic criteria. The settings of intervention were community-dwelling (3 papers), hospital (2) or patient’s home (1). Data were collected at least twice (pre- and post-treatment). The lack of details on randomization and the VR intervention did not allow for study reproducibility, despite 9/10 papers presenting randomization procedure. Four study protocols provided information regarding the sample size calculation, sample size varying between 26 and 59.

Conclusion: Not all VR for stroke interventions were registered in a trial registry, insufficient details were provided regarding randomization and/or VR intervention.

via Virtual reality for stroke rehabilitation: characteristics of protocols, pilot and feasibility studies | Applied Medical Informatics.

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[ARTICLE] Preliminary Analysis of Perception, Knowledge and Attitude of Home Health Patients Using Tele Rehabilitation in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – Full Text

ABSTRACT

Telerehabilitation is defined as delivery of rehabilitation services over telecommunication networks and the internet, which comprise of clinical assessment (the patient’s functional abilities in his or her environment) and clinical therapy.This new area  of medical advancement, using state of the art technology is developing at a great speed and is  definitely going to be the next milestone in health care revolution.The objective of this study was to explore the awareness, knowledge and perception of the patients for using telerehabilitation as a medium to provide physiotherapy services as a part of home healthcare services.  A pretest-post test design was used where the home healthcare patients (n = 90) aged between 50 -75 years were asked to express views by given a validated modified TUQ questionnaire followed by an indepth interviewing to develop a key understanding regarding the themes. Interviews were transcribed and a qualitative thematic analysis was conducted. The awareness level regarding the  telerehabilitation changed significantly from 57% to 96% post session(p<0.05). Similarly, the knowledge of the participants regarding  online consultation, followup and online therapy  changed significantly from 50%, 47% and 57% to 96%, 76% and 96% respectively post session of rehabilitation(p<0.05). The perception level regarding the key benefits including  its usage in emergency(83%), convenience of no travel(84%), ease of getting treated at home(97%) and  availability of specialist consultation (84%) were the prime ideas for excellent rating among 95% participants (p<0.05) post session. Findings are helpful to health practitioners in designing their intervention programs across the kingdom. However the actual impact could be only derived from future studies which has to conducted based on different clinical conditions.

Introduction

Telerehabilitation is defined as the provision and delivery of rehabilitation health services at a distance using information and communication technologies and tools (Tan 2005; Russell 2007). Throughout the world, the health care practices is going through major transformation as it is driven through sea change because of the increased use of technology. The kingdom of Saudi Arabia too is witnessing a massive change with significant restructuring of healthcare systems with some major high-end technology driven development solutions. The increased demand is created on account of rapidly increasing saudi population including the growing elderly community, changing disease patterns, global climatic changes and financial inequity (Mahmood 2018).  According to a United nations report the elderly population of Saudi Arabia  those aged 60 and above is projected to increase from 3% in 2010 to 9.5% and 18.4% in 2035 and 2050, respectively (UN Report, 2018).

Similarly, comparing this phenomenon to an average life expectancy of the population in Saudi Arabia, the latest WHO data published in 2018, suggests that Saudi male and female have an average of 73.5 and female 76.5 life years with an average life expectancy of 74.8 years as against an average world life expectancy of 84 years.The increased demand in kingdom also raised because of immense economic pressure with steep fall in global oil prices in 2015-16 affecting the GDP significantly thereby been one of the key stimulus for the government to take timely corrective actions and diversify the economy from heavily oil dependent to develop other verticals for revenue generation (MoH Report, 2018).

Brian child of Crown Prince HH Mohammad Bin Salman, Vision 2030 was adopted in April 2016 and has identified its priorities across all economic sectors and serves as a roadmap for the economic development of the KSA with development of health services been one of the most important key themes. Therefore, as a part of realization of this vision the government strongly supports the partnership of private and public sectors and been seen as a strong indication of the Government’s commitment for making healthcare accessible to its citizens irrespective of the disparities available in the Saudi society (Vision 2030 Report, 2016). Access to healthcare generally relates to people’s ability to use health services when and where they are needed. Determinants of healthcare access are the types and quality of services, including the costs, time, distance (ease of travel) as well as regular interface between service users and healthcare providers. Saudi Arabia is the largest and fastest growing health care market in the region and is estimated to reach $40 billion by 2020 (NTP 2020 Report, 2016).

Moreover, the steep increase in the number of hospitals across all major cities of KSA are run by both government and private organizations which use  corporate business strategies and technology driven specializations, which aim to create demand as well as attract high number patients as the facilities in majority of these hospitals are world class.Among the various strategies listed in the NTP Report 2020, one of the key components of making healthcare accessible across the kingdom is the enhanced use of telemedicine (NTP 2020 Report, 2016). In the last one decade the health services across the kingdom have taken gigantic leap jumps with private healthcare taking lead and using innovations in delivering healthcare. One of such innovations is using Home Healthcare for delivering physiotherapy and other rehabilitation based services for the patients at home (Pulse Report 2018).

Rehabilitation is a very important component in medical care and helps in propelling patient to preinjury level. It is a well known fact that in all long term cases which requires follow-ups such as in surgical cases and other debilitating disorders including Stroke, Cancer, Multiple Sclerosios, rehabilitation is time consuming and financially constraining. To add to this, patients travelling long distances for treatment, it is not only physically challenging but emotionally draining too and especially in case of geriatric patients.Therefore home tele rehabilitation programs, are winding up progressively as an elective method of service delivery. In the western countries, quite a number of research studies has been proved that the Telerehabilitation for the delivery of health services is quite effective, however the scope of using such services in the kingdom is still novice and requires a detailed study, (Hailey et al., 2010, Johansson and Wild 2011, Chang et al 2019     ).

There are scant studies to prove its efficacy in the developing countries as its successful will depends on a number of factors (Clemens et al 2018) . However, among all the variables, the two most important are the technological component and second been its implementation in real terms (Jackson and McClean 2012, Clemens et al 2018). Accordingly, these both are of extreme critical importance from the patient satisfaction point of view. The perceptions of the stakeholders, i.e. the patient and the members of the Rehabilitation team are of utmost importance for its use and wide spread application.The home healthcare services in Saudi Arabia is still in infancy stages with few delivery partners across the kingdom. The usage of telerehabilitation is even more nascent, as the perception of patients in using such a technology for delivering healthcare would be quite critical and important to understand the phenomenon which would be quite useful in framing the guidelines for its applications at a mass level, (Alaboudi et al 2016).

Therefore, this study is an attempt to study the awareness, knowledge and perceptions of  the home healthcare patients in using physiotherapy services delivered via cloud based telerehabilitation. This study, to our knowledge is the first of its kind in the kingdom especially from the perspective of home healthcare patients. It aims to explore the key ideas which might work in favour or against the successful implementation of telerehabilitation used for the home healthcare delivery.

Materials and Methods

The pretest-post test study design was conducted on home healthcare patients so as to obtain an in-depth understanding of the patients’ perception about telerehabilitation services which they will receive as a part of home health services. While a few studies  conducted earlier emphasized about telemedicine to be a key part in delivery of health services, however none of the studies emphasized on perception of patients to implement telerehabilitation as part of home healthcare (Clemens et al 2018, Khalil et al 2018).

Due necessary approval were taken from the ethical clearance committee of the respective organization, which is a reputed home healthcare organization based in Riyadh. In order to recruit participants for the study, sample population were selected from a pool of home healthcare patients who were undergoing treatment under one of the most prominent home healthcare organizations in the kingdom, which incidentally was the only first licensed stand-alone home healthcare services company in Riyadh province.

The study was conducted from Jan 15 to May 30, 2019. In this context, non-probability sampling method was used. Out of 113 home healthcare patients who underwent treatment for different ailments, 90 were randomly selected who also gave their consent to participate in the study out of which 57 were males and 33 were females. Those patients who suffered from orthopedic problems such as Knee pain, low back ache, disc prolapse etc. or underwent orthopedic surgeries such as knee replacement or meniscectomy etc. participated in the study. The study mainly included common geriatric patients for the study who were willing to participate but excluded the pediatric and the critical care, neurological and cardiac patients as they underwent major surgeries such as for stroke or CABG and also were unable to respond directly to answer the questions. The patients who were able respond in English or Arabic were recruited for the study.

Based on literature review and discussion with key stakeholders, a questionnaire and an the interview guide was prepared, modified from Telehealth Usability Questionnaire (TUQ) based on key themes of perceived usefulness, ease of use and learnability,  Interaction quality, Reliability and Satisfaction and future use (Langbecker et al 2017) . The questionnaire was converted to Arabic version adapted from the original English version and pilot tested for the home healthcare patients using both forward and backward translation methods and achieved very acceptable score of confirmatory factor analysis of 0.78 using SPSS. It was also pilot tested   for the members of the rehabilitation team. The questionnaires as given in Appendix 1 were responded by the patients and the members of the rehabilitation team followed by a semi structured individual interview from the patient as well as from the team members involved in providing home health services. The interviews were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim using Text Analysis Markup System (TAMS) Analyzer as suggested by Yin (Yin 2013).

The Tele-rehabilitation Technological solutions were a part of home health services which were delivered by the company. As a part of cloud based HIPAA compliant network, the telemedicine unit consists of a portal to track health metrics and rehabilitation treatment plan and progress by the PT specialists as well as the Case Managers. The system included case briefing, consultation by specialists as well as providing physiotherapy sessions both by Home health therapists or via health workers such as PTAs within the vicinity of home environment at patient’s ease as schematically represented in Fig. no.1.

Figure 1: Set-up for in-home telerehabilitation: (A) Framework system; (B) dashboard Screen (C) Integrated loop with benefits

The participants were given a pre and post session modified TUQ and asked to reflect on their entire rehabilitation experience using the Telerehabilitation platform so as to get relevant information about telemedicine services including key events such as finding out they would receive services at home by videoconference, having the internet and videoconferencing equipment installed at home and receiving services by videoconference including dealing with technical issues. Following the same detailed interview was taken using the TAMS so as to identify key ideas which can affect usage of telerehabilitation. . Statistical tests was conducted  using SPSS for Pre-post differences evaluation. using paired  t-tests to assess factors associated with awareness, knowledge and perception. Significance was set a priori at p < 0.05. […]

Continue —> Preliminary Analysis of Perception, Knowledge and Attitude of Home Health Patients Using Tele Rehabilitation in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

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[VIDEO] Cognitive and Psychological Consequences of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) – YouTube

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[WEB PAGE] Upper arm rehabilitation after severe stroke: where are we? – Physics World

10 Sep 2019 Andrea Rampin 
EEG cap

Stroke is the second leading cause of death worldwide and the third cause of induced disability, according to estimates from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study. Treatments based on constraint-induced movement therapy, occupational practice, virtual reality and brain stimulation can work well for patients with mild impairment of upper limb movement, but they are not as effective for those burdened by severe disability. Therefore, novel individualized approaches are needed for this patient group.

Martina Coscia from the Wyss Center for Bio and Neuroengineering in Geneva, and colleagues from several other Swiss institutes, have published a review paper summarizing the most advanced techniques in use today for treatment of severe, chronic stroke patients. The researchers describe techniques being developed for upper limb motor rehabilitation: from robotics and muscular electrical stimulation, to brain stimulation and brain–computer/machine interfaces (Brain 10.1093/brain/awz181).

Robot-aided rehabilitation approaches include movement-assisting exoskeletons and end-effector devices, which enable upper arm movement by stimulating the peripheral nervous system. These techniques can also trigger reorganization of the impaired peripheral nervous system and encourage rehabilitation of the damaged somatosensory system. Several studies have reported the efficiency of robot-aided rehabilitation, alone or in combination with other techniques, in the treatment of upper limb motor impairment. One study that included severely impaired individuals also demonstrated encouraging results.

Muscular electrical stimulation can help improve the connection of motor neurons to the spinal cord and the motor cortex. Researchers have also demonstrated that application of electrical stimuli to the muscles provides positive effects on the neurons responsible for sensory signal transduction to the brain, thereby improving the motion control loop function. By modulating motor neurons’ sensitivity, muscular electrical stimulation inhibits the muscle spasms observed in other treatments.

More recently, therapies have moved on from the simple use of currents to harnessing coordinated stimuli to orchestrate more complex, task-related movements. Although this particular set of techniques didn’t show a particular advantage over physiotherapy in long-term studies of patients with mild upper limb impairment, it did seem to have a stronger effect for chronic severe patients.

Stimulating the brain

Brain stimulation, meanwhile, stimulates cortical neurons in order to improve their ability to form new connections within the affected neural network. Brain stimulation techniques can be divided into two branches – electrical and magnetic – both of which can activate or inhibit neural activity, depending on the polarity and intensity of the stimulus.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation

Researchers have achieved encouraging results using both techniques. In particular, magnetic field-triggered inhibition of the contralesional hemisphere (the hemisphere that was not affected by the stroke) activity yielded positive results. Magnetic, low-frequency stimulation of the contralesional hemisphere also proved encouraging – improving the reach to grasp ability of patients, although only for small objects. Excitingly, some studies suggest that coupling contralesional cortex inhibition with magnetic stimulation of the chronically affected area could achieve effective results.

Within these techniques, one promising approach is invasive brain stimulation, in which a device is surgically implanted in a superficial region of the brain. Such techniques allow for more sustained and spatially-oriented stimulation of the desired brain regions. The Everest trial used such methods and showed significant improvement for a larger percentage of patients after 24 weeks, compared with standard rehabilitation protocols.

Another promising recent development is non-invasive deep-brain stimulation, achieved by temporally interfering electric fields. The authors envision that a deeper understanding of the complex mechanisms involved in the brain’s reactions to magnetic and electrical stimulation will provide an important assistance in clinical application of these techniques.

The final category, brain–computer or brain–machine interfaces (BCIs or BMIs), exploit electroencephalogram (EEG) patterns to trigger feedback or an action output from an external device. Devices that produce feedback are used to train the patient to recruit the correct zone of the brain and help reorganize its interconnections. These techniques have only recently transitioned to the clinic; however, early results and observations are promising. For example, a BCI technique coupled with muscular electrical stimulation restored patients’ ability to extend their fingers.

In recent years, researchers have also tested combinations of the techniques described above. For example, combinations of robotics and muscular electrical stimulation have shown encouraging results, especially when more than one articulation was targeted by the treatment. Combining brain stimulation with muscular electrical stimulation and robotics has proved more effective in severe than in moderate cases. Also, coupling of muscular electrical stimulation with magnetic inhibitory brain stimulation provided better results than either individual technique. Interestingly, addition of electrical brain stimulation to a BCI system coupled with a robotic motor feedback enhanced the outcome, helping to achieve adaptive brain remodelling at the expense of inappropriate reorganization.

Coscia and co-authors highlight that all the techniques studied share a range of limitations that should be addressed, such as small sample size, limited understanding of the underlying mechanisms, lack of treatment personalization and minimal attention to the training task, which they note is often of limited importance for daily life. Addressing these limitations might be key to improving the clinical outcome for patients with severe stroke-induced upper limb paralysis treated with neurotechnology-aided interventions. Moreover, the authors plan to begin a clinical trial to test the use of a novel personalized therapy approach that will include a combination of the described techniques.

 

via Upper arm rehabilitation after severe stroke: where are we? – Physics World

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