Archive for category Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES)

[Abstract + References] Synergy-Based FES for Post-Stroke Rehabilitation of Upper-Limb Motor Functions


Functional electrical stimulation (FES) is capable of activating muscles that are under-recruited in neurological diseases, such as stroke. Therefore, FES provides a promising technology for assisting upper-limb motor functions in rehabilitation following stroke. However, the full benefits of FES may be limited due to lack of a systematic approach to formulate the pattern of stimulation. Our preliminary work demonstrated that it is feasible to use muscle synergy to guide the generation of FES patterns.In this paper, we present a methodology of formulating FES patterns based on muscle synergies of a normal subject using a programmable multi-channel FES device. The effectiveness of the synergy-based FES was tested in two sets of experiments. In experiment one, the instantaneous effects of FES to improve movement kinematics were tested in three patients post ischemic stroke. Patients performed frontal reaching and lateral reaching tasks, which involved coordinated movements in the elbow and shoulder joints. The FES pattern was adjusted in amplitude and time profile for each subject in each task. In experiment two, a 5-day session of intervention using synergy-based FES was delivered to another three patients, in which patients performed task-oriented training in the same reaching movements in one-hour-per-day dose. The outcome of the short-term intervention was measured by changes in Fugl–Meyer scores and movement kinematics. Results on instantaneous effects showed that FES assistance was effective to increase the peak hand velocity in both or one of the tasks. In short-term intervention, evaluations prior to and post intervention showed improvements in both Fugl–Meyer scores and movement kinematics. The muscle synergy of patients also tended to evolve towards that of the normal subject. These results provide promising evidence of benefits using synergy-based FES for upper-limb rehabilitation following stroke. This is the first step towards a clinical protocol of applying FES as therapeutic intervention in stroke rehabilitation.

I. Introduction

Muscle activation during movement is commonly disrupted due to neural injuries from stroke. A major challenge for stroke rehabilitation is to re-establish the normal ways of muscle activation through a general restoration of motor control, otherwise impairments may be compensated by the motor system through a substitution strategy of task control [1]. In post-stroke intervention, new technologies such as neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) or functional electrical stimulation (FES) offer advantages for non-invasively targeting specific groups of muscles [2]–[4] to restore the pattern of muscle activation. Nevertheless, their effectiveness is limited by lack of a systematic methodology to optimize the stimulation pattern, to implement the optimal strategy in clinical settings, and to design a protocol of training towards the goal of restoring motor functions. This pioneer study addresses these issues in clinical application with a non-invasive FES technology.

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via Synergy-Based FES for Post-Stroke Rehabilitation of Upper-Limb Motor Functions – IEEE Journals & Magazine

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[VIDEO] Post Stroke Foot Dorsiflexion: Using Electrical Stimulation to Reduce Tone & Promote Plasticity – YouTube

Further reading on electrophysiology and muscle contractions:…

via  Post Stroke Foot Dorsiflexion: Using Electrical Stimulation to Reduce Tone & Promote Plasticity – YouTube

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[Abstract] The comparative efficacy of theta burst stimulation or functional electrical stimulation when combined with physical therapy after stroke: a randomized controlled trial

via The comparative efficacy of theta burst stimulation or functional electrical stimulation when combined with physical therapy after stroke: a randomized controlled trial – Fayaz Khan, Chaturbhuj Rathore, Mahesh Kate, Josy Joy, George Zachariah, P C Vincent, Ravi Prasad Varma, Kurupath Radhakrishnan, 2019

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[Abstract] Gait rehabilitation using functional electrical stimulation induces changes in ankle muscle coordination in stroke survivors: a preliminary study

Background: Previous studies have demonstrated that post-stroke gait rehabilitation combining functional electrical stimulation applied to the ankle muscles during fast treadmill walking (FastFES) improves gait biomechanics and clinical walking function. However, there is considerable inter-individual variability in response to FastFES. Although FastFES aims to sculpt ankle muscle coordination, whether changes in ankle muscle activity underlie observed gait improvements is unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate three cases illustrating how FastFES modulates ankle muscle recruitment during walking.

Methods: We conducted a preliminary case series study on three individuals (53-70y; 2M; 35-60 months post-stroke; 19-22 lower extremity Fugl-Meyer) who participated in 18 sessions of FastFES (3 sessions/week; NCT01668602). Clinical walking function (speed, six-minute walk test, and Timed-Up-and-Go test), gait biomechanics (paretic propulsion and ankle angle at initial-contact), and plantarflexor (soleus) / dorsiflexor (tibialis anterior) muscle recruitment were assessed pre- and post-FastFES while walking without stimulation.
Results: Two participants (R1, R2) were categorized as responders based on improvements in clinical walking function. Consistent with heterogeneity of clinical and biomechanical changes commonly observed following gait rehabilitation, how muscle activity was altered with FastFES differed between responders.R1 exhibited improved plantarflexor recruitment during stance accompanied by increased paretic propulsion. R2 exhibited improved dorsiflexor recruitment during swing accompanied by improved paretic ankle angle at initial-contact. In contrast, the third participant (NR1), classified as a non-responder, demonstrated increased ankle muscle activity during inappropriate phases of the gait cycle. Across all participants, there was a positive relationship between increased walking speeds after FastFES and reduced SOL/TA muscle coactivation.
Conclusion: Our preliminary case series study is the first to demonstrate that improvements in ankle plantarflexor and dorsiflexor muscle recruitment (muscles targeted by FastFES) accompanied improvements in gait biomechanics and walking function following FastFES in individuals post-stroke. Our results also suggest that inducing more appropriate (i.e., reduced) ankle plantar/dorsi-flexor muscle coactivation may be an important neuromuscular mechanism underlying improvements in gait function after FastFES training, suggesting that pre-treatment ankle muscle status could be used for inclusion into FastFES. The findings of this case-series study, albeit preliminary, provide the rationale and foundations for larger-sample studies using similar methodology.


via Frontiers | Gait rehabilitation using functional electrical stimulation induces changes in ankle muscle coordination in stroke survivors: a preliminary study | Neurology

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[VIDEO] Split-Crank Functional Electrical Stimulation Cycling: An Adapting Admitting Rehabilitation Robot – YouTube

Δημοσιεύτηκε στις 14 Νοε 2018
A split-crank functional electrical stimulation (FES) cycle utilizes an adapting admittance controller on each motor to apply torque about the crank. Simultaneously, the rider receives neuromuscular electrical stimulation to cause artificial muscle contractions to pedal the cycle. The cycle and rider cooperate to keep the cycle up to speed for the purpose of promoting rehabilitation in people with movement disorders.


via (15) Split-Crank Functional Electrical Stimulation Cycling: An Adapting Admitting Rehabilitation Robot – YouTube

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[WEB SITE] Technology helps stroke patients get moving again

Electronic devices are helping stroke patients walk and move their hands again.

Electronic devices are helping stroke patients walk and move their hands again.

This may bode well for the 20 percent of survivors that have foot drop, and 87 percent of stroke survivors that have lost the use of their hands.

When a person has a stroke, multiple sclerosis or brain injury, most of the neurons that help signal muscles to move are broken. This keeps the brain from being able to send signals to certain muscle groups telling them to move.

A stroke, for example, can destroy millions of brain cells that you need to tie your shoes, pick up a grandchild or reach into your closet. To gain lost function, rehabilitation used to focus on teaching patients how to compensate for their physical deficits.

Today, research shows that neural plasticity (the ability of the brain to repair itself) can be applied effectively for improved outcomes and enhanced functional abilities.

To do this successfully, the central nervous system must seek other neural pathways and find new connections that bypass the damaged areas. With a little help from functional electrical stimulation (FES), which is low energy electrical pulses, the process to find the new connections is a bit easier.

New electrical orthotics target muscles with FES and can help accelerate muscle-nerve recovery. The electronic orthosis and its control unit transmit synchronized electric pulses to the peripheral nerves through electrodes built into the orthosis — these pulses are driven in precise sequence and accurately activate five muscles in the forearm.

“Muscles relearn when electrical stimulation provides feedback to the brain that can facilitate neuro re-education and promote neuroplasticity, which is the ability of the central nervous system to remodel itself,” says physical therapist Imelda Ungos, director of rehabilitation for Melbourne Terrace, a facility that specializes in the active and aging population. “And patients can learn a better way to function just by having new input, regardless of age.”

Ungos reports that the ultimate goal with this method of therapy is to restore voluntary movement. Patients with a history of brain lesions, such as stroke conditions and movement disorders, may have the most to gain with the neuro-orthotics and the rehab to learn how to use them.

“The latest therapy equipment from Bioness can drive the brain to new connections, and newer technology and techniques encourage the neuronal changes necessary for improved function,” says Ungos. “This kind of therapy is very specialized, and we’re the only sub-acute facility in the Space Coast area with the Bioness FES technologies,” says Ungos.

For improved hand function, the orthosis fits to the forearm and wrist, and communicates wirelessly with the control unit. Inside the orthosis, electrodes deliver mild pulses to stimulate muscle contraction.

The level of stimulation can be adjusted toward each function. With an intuitive interface, clinicians are better able to help their patients obtain simple control of desired hand activation.

The wireless device is portable and allows for quick detection of the best electrode position for each individual. A control unit enables easy programming of functional modes and training regimens.

For patients with poor safety and balance due to foot drop, which is the inability to lift the foot during walking, there’s an electronic orthosis that fits below the knee. The unit has stimulating electrodes placed over the correct nerve and fits below the knee. A heel sensor sends a muscle-contracting signal during the correct step phase to enable the foot to lift.

After the initial custom fitting of the orthosis, patients can enhance their abilities to perform daily activities, and the carry-over results from continued use will improve voluntary movement.

Ungos adds that the other benefits of interacting with the device include a reduction in muscle spasm, an increase in range of motion, and improved blood circulation. “That all goes towards retarding disuse atrophy,” she says.

“Efforts must be directed towards preventing complications and learning how to use affected limb along with active rehabilitation… especially when the use is started early in post stroke rehabilitation,” says online Bioness reports from Harold Weingarden, MD, Director of Rehabilitation Day Hospital Sheba Medical Center in Israel.

“An early start to rehab gives patients hope of what is possible in terms of present and future improvement,” says Ungos. She adds that the devices allow patients to move in more natural ways.

Feeling “normal” again can improve mood, function, and quality of life.

For more information, call Melbourne Terrace Rehabilitation Center at 321-725-3990. They offer comprehensive rehabilitative outpatient and inpatient services for short or long term care located at 251 East Florida Ave., Melbourne, FL 32901

via Technology helps stroke patients get moving again

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Enhancing quality of life
through electrical stimulation technology


All of the abstracts presented are available on line at




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[ARTICLE] Speed-adaptive control of functional electrical stimulation for dropfoot correction – Full Text



Functional electrical stimulation is an important therapy technique for dropfoot correction. In order to achieve natural control, the parameter setting of FES should be associated with the activation of the tibialis anterior.


This study recruited nine healthy subjects and investigated the relations of walking speed with the onset timing and duration of tibialis anterior activation. Linear models were built for the walking speed with respect to these two parameters. Based on these models, the speed-adaptive onset timing and duration were applied in FES-assisted walking for nine healthy subjects and ten subjects with dropfoot. The kinematic performance of FES-assisted walking triggered by speed-adaptive stimulation were compared with those triggered by the heel-off event, and no-stimulation walking at different walking speeds.


Higher ankle dorsiflexion angle was observed in heel-off stimulation and speed-adaptive stimulation conditions than that in no-stimulation walking condition at all the speeds. For subjects with stroke, the ankle plantarflexion angle in speed-adaptive stimulation condition was similar to that in no-stimulation walking condition, and it was significant larger than that in heel-off stimulation condition at all speeds.


The improvement in ankle dorsiflexion without worsening ankle plantarflexion in speed-adaptive stimulation condition could be attributed to the appropriate stimulation timing and duration. These results provide evidence that the proposed stimulation system with speed-related parameters is more physiologically appropriate in dropfoot correction, and it may have great potential value in future clinical applications.



About three quarters of stroke survivors experience different levels of brain dysfunction and movement disorder [1], which result in lower living quality and limited ability in social activities [2]. Of these subjects, 20% suffer from impaired motor function in the lower extremities. One of such impairments is dropfoot, which is characterized by poor ankle dorsiflexion during the swing phase and an inability to achieve heel strike at the initial contact [34]. Abnormal gaits such as circumduction gait and abnormal foot clearance on the affected side are often found as a method of compensating for excessive hip abduction and pelvis elevation on the unaffected side [5]. This results in gait asymmetry and slow walking speed [6].

Functional electrical stimulation was a representative intervention to correct dropfoot and Liberson et al. first introduced functional electrical stimulation (FES) to correct dropfoot for chronic hemiplegic subjects in the 1960s [7]. An electrical charge is delivered via a pair of electrodes to activate the tibialis anterior (TA), which results in ankle dorsiflexion. Yan et al. applied two dual-channel stimulators to the quadriceps, hamstring, gastrocnemius, and TA to recover motor function of the lower extremities in an early stage after stroke [8]. The stimulation was followed by a predetermined sequence of muscle activations that mimic a healthy gait cycle [9]. The duration of stimulation was five seconds in Yan et al.’s study. However, subjects with different severities of impairment might have different walking speeds [10], which means that a fixed stimulation duration might not be able to account for different walking patterns.

Liberson et al. used the heel-off event detected by a footswitch to trigger the stimulation [7]. However, the reliability of the footswitch controller was significantly reduced when subjects who dragged their feet during walking encountered a slope or an obstacle [11]. Bhadra et al. proposed a manual switch to trigger stimulation as a walking aid for subjects with spinal cord injury (SCI) [12]. However, manual control may distract subjects from maintaining balance and lead to an increased risk of falls [1314]. Furthermore, the cable between the control sensor and stimulator was inconvenient for walking [15].

Instead of a footswitch, Mansfield et al. [16] and Monaghan et al. [17] detected the heel event of the gait cycle in FES-assisted walking using an accelerometer and a uniaxial gyroscope, respectively. The commercially available product WalkAide also uses an accelerometer for this purpose [18]. Electromyography (EMG) signal is also applied as a control source in FES-assisted walking for the detection of volitional intent of muscle [19]. Yeom et al. amplified the EMG signal of the TA and modulated the stimulation intensity in proportion to the integrated EMG envelope. The electrical pulses are then sent to the common peroneal nerve for dropfoot correction [20].

In these studies, FES applied to the TA was mainly triggered by the heel-off event. However, this event occurs during the push-off phase and before TA activation [17]. An earlier start of TA stimulation results in reduced ankle plantarflexion [21]. Spaich et al. suggested implementing a constant time interval before the onset timing of TA stimulation to extend the push-off phase before the ankle dorsiflexion [21]. Some studies have found that walking speed can affect the activation of TA [2223]. Shiavi et al. found that the duration of EMG activity decreased as speed increased [22]. In Winter et al.’s study, the shape of the EMG patterns generally remained similar at the different walking speeds and the duration of EMG activity was closely related to the normalized stride time [23]. Although the duration of TA activation changes with the walking speeds has been reported [24], the selection of speed-adaptive FES parameters for TA has not been investigated.

The objective of this study is to find a more physiologically appropriate FES design for dropfoot correction. Firstly, speed-related changes in onset timing and the duration of TA activation were examined. Next, linear models were built for the walking speed and time interval from the heel-off event to the onset timing of TA activation, as well as for the walking speed and the duration of the TA activation. The speed-adaptive stimulation (SAS) timing and duration were then calculated based on the two models and applied for FES-assisted walking. Finally, the performance of stimulation triggered by SAS, heel-off event (HOS) and no stimulation (NS) were compared during FES-assisted walking on both subjects with stroke and healthy subjects at different walking speeds.[…]


Continue —->  Speed-adaptive control of functional electrical stimulation for dropfoot correction | Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation | Full Text


Fig. 1a The experiment setup of SAS condition; b one healthy subject on the treadmill for system evaluation; c the position of five markers on the right leg

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[ARTICLE] Improving Hand Function of Severely Impaired Chronic Hemiparetic Stroke Individuals Using Task-Specific Training With the ReIn-Hand System: A Case Series – Full Text


Purpose: In this study, we explored whether improved hand function is possible in poststroke chronic hemiparetic individuals with severe upper limb motor impairments when they participate in device-aided task-specific practice.

Subjects: Eight participants suffering from chronic stroke (>1-year poststroke, mean: 11.2 years) with severely impaired upper extremity movement (Upper Extremity Subscale of the Fugl-Meyer Motor Assessment (UEFMA) score between 10 and 24) participated in this study.

Methods: Subjects were recruited to participate in a 20-session intervention (3 sessions/7 weeks). During each session, participants performed 20–30 trials of reaching, grasping, retrieving, and releasing a jar with the assistance of a novel electromyography-driven functional electrical stimulation (EMG-FES) system.

This EMG-FES system allows for Reliable and Intuitive use of the Hand (called ReIn-Hand device) during multi-joint arm movements. Pre-, post-, and 3-month follow-up outcome assessments included the UEFMA, Cherokee McMaster Stroke Assessment, grip dynamometry, Box and Blocks Test (BBT), goniometric assessment of active and passive ranges of motion (ROMs) of the wrist and the metacarpophalangeal flexion and extension (II, V fingers), Nottingham Sensory Assessment–Stereognosis portion (NSA), and Cutaneous Sensory Touch Threshold Assessment.

Results: A nonparametric Friedman test of differences found significant changes in the BBT scores (χ2 = 10.38, p < 0.05), the passive and active ROMs (χ2 = 11.31, p < 0.05 and χ2 = 12.45, p < 0.01, respectively), and the NSA scores (χ2 = 6.42, p < 0.05) following a multi-session intervention using the ReIn-Hand device.

Conclusions: These results suggest that using the ReIn-Hand device during reaching and grasping activities may contribute to improvements in gross motor function and sensation (stereognosis) in individuals with chronic severe UE motor impairment following stroke.


Stroke is the second most common cause of mortality and the third most common cause of disability worldwide (12). More than two-thirds of people who have had a stroke have difficulties with arm function, which contributes considerably in limiting the ability to perform activities of daily living (ADLs) (34). Though various studies have reported positive outcomes following multiple types of interventions in more mildly impaired individuals (56), regaining hand function in individuals with moderate-to-severe impairments still remains a challenge. This is largely due to impairments, such as the loss of volitional finger extension (78), muscle coactivation (7), involuntary coupling of wrist and finger flexion with certain shoulder and elbow movements (9), and somatosensory deficits (10).

Several studies have suggested that repetitive task-specific training can improve upper extremity (UE) function (1114) in mildly impaired stroke survivors when the practice is functionally relevant and of sufficient intensity. Intervention-induced gains have been reported for up to 6 months after intervention (15). In particular, interventions focusing on reach and grasp movements have been shown to be relevant because these movements are essential for ADLs and are viewed by subjects as high priority rehabilitative goals (1617). This approach has often been used in individuals in both the acute and subacute stage (1820) and with mild-to-moderate impairments after stroke (61821).

There is limited research targeting chronic stroke individuals with severely impaired UE. These individuals are less able to participate in task-specific training because of minimal volitional activation of the impaired arm (16). Furthermore, during ADLs, concurrent use of hand and arm are required. However, the presence of the flexion synergy after stroke (2224), coupled with shoulder abduction with elbow/wrist and fingers flexion (9), decreases the ability to generate volitional or functional electrical stimulation (FES)-assisted finger extension while lifting against gravity (2526). This creates a major challenge to rehabilitation clinicians and limits opportunities for this population to participate in programs focused on hand recovery (16).

The purpose of this study is to determine the effect of device-assisted task-specific training on hand motor function and sensation (stereognosis and cutaneous sensory touch threshold) in individuals with chronic stroke and severe UE impairment. An electromyography-driven functional electrical stimulation (EMG-FES) with an intelligent detection software that detects the hand opening intention even with the presence of flexion synergies was used to assist the hand opening while subjects were performing required reaching and grasping tasks. We expected that by training a functional activity that involves arm-lifting, reaching and grasping, retrieving and releasing, poststroke participants with severely impaired UE would improve their arm/hand motor function and sensation.

Some parts of the results from various assessments [i.e., pre- to post-changes in an active range of motion (AROM) and Box and Blocks Test (BBT)] have been briefly reported in a previous publication (27) that focused on brain plasticity introduced by this ReIn-Hand assisted reaching and grasping intervention. Compared to the previous publication, this paper provides a complete overall report on various intervention-induced clinical changes.[…]


Continue —> Frontiers | Improving Hand Function of Severely Impaired Chronic Hemiparetic Stroke Individuals Using Task-Specific Training With the ReIn-Hand System: A Case Series | Neurology

Figure 1. Rein-Hand device and the experimental set up. FES parameters: Amplitude sufficient for maximal hand opening without discomfort, biphasic waveform, frequency 50 Hz ± 20%, and 300 μs pulse width, and duration time 3 s. Adapted from Wilkins et al. (27).

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[BOOK Chapter] Overview of FES-Assisted Cycling Approaches and Their Benefits on Functional Rehabilitation and Muscle Atrophy – Abstract + References

Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1088)


Central nervous system diseases include brain or spinal cord impairments and may result in movement disorders almost always manifested by paralyzed muscles with preserved innervations and therefore susceptible to be activated by electrical stimulation. Functional electrical stimulation (FES)-assisted cycling is an approach mainly used for rehabilitation purposes contributing, among other effects, to restore muscle trophism. FES-assisted cycling has also been adapted for mobile devices adding a leisure and recreational benefit to the physical training. In October 2016, our teams (Freewheels and EMA-trike) took part in FES-bike discipline at the Cybathlon competition, presenting technologies that allow pilots with spinal cord injury to use their paralyzed lower limb muscles to propel a tricycle. Among the many benefits observed and reported in our study cases for the pilots during preparation period, we achieved a muscle remodeling in response to FES-assisted cycling that is discussed in this chapter. Then, we have organized some sections to explore how FES-assisted cycling could contribute to functional rehabilitation by means of changes in the skeletal muscle disuse atrophy.


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via Overview of FES-Assisted Cycling Approaches and Their Benefits on Functional Rehabilitation and Muscle Atrophy | SpringerLink

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