Posts Tagged Arm
Regain Use of Arm After Stroke
Technology Now Widely Available Means Moderately to Severely Weakened Arms and Hands May Function Again
Experiencing a stroke can be devastating. Many are left with an arm so weak it seems useless. The biggest loss can be your independence.
But for many, regaining use of your arm and hand and your independence is possible. Myomo, a medical robotics company, has developed the MyoPro—a lightweight, non-invasive powered brace (orthosis). It is the only orthosis that, sensing a patient’s own neurological signals through sensors on the surface of the skin, can restore their ability to use their arms and hands so that they can return to work, live independently and reduce their cost of care.
Hundreds of patients have used it successfully. It is recommended by clinicians at leading rehabilitation facilities and 20 VA hospitals. (MyoPro is not for everyone and your results may vary.)
Read the whitepaper Technology Giving Hope to Stroke Patients Now Widely Available and see videos of patients and physicians describing their experience with MyoPro.
Source: National Stroke Association
Stroke survival rates have improved a lot over the last few years. Stroke was once the third leading cause of death in the United States, but it fell to fourth place in 2008 and fifth place in 2013. Today, strokes claim an average of 129,000 American lives every year. Reducing stroke deaths in America is a great improvement, but we still have a long way to go in improving the lives of stroke survivors.
Stagnant recovery rates and low quality of life for stroke survivors are unfortunately very common. Just 10% of stroke survivors make a full recovery. Only 25% of all survivors recover with minor impairments. Nearly half of all stroke survivors continue to live with serious impairments requiring special care, and 10% of survivors live in nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, and other long-term healthcare facilities. It’s easy to see why stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability in the United States. By 2030, it’s estimated that there could be up to 11 million stroke survivors in the country.
Traditionally, stroke rehabilitation in America leaves much to be desired in terms of recovery and quality of life. There is a serious gap between stroke patients being discharged and transitioning to physical recovery programs. In an effort to improve recovery and quality of life, the American Heart Association has urged the healthcare community to prioritize exercise as an essential part of post-stroke care.
Unfortunately, too few healthcare professionals prescribe exercise as a form of therapy for stroke, despite its many benefits for patients. Many stroke survivors are not given the skills, confidence, knowledge, or tools necessary to follow an exercise program. However, that can change.
With the right recovery programs that prioritize exercise for rehabilitation, stroke survivors can “relearn” crucial motors skills to regain a high quality of life. Thanks to a phenomenon known as neuroplasticity, even permanent brain damage doesn’t make disability inevitable.
A stroke causes loss of physical function because it temporarily or permanently damages the parts of the brain responsible for those functions. The same damage is also responsible for behavioral and cognitive changes, which range from memory and vision problems to severe depression and anger. Each of these changes correspond to a specific region of the brain that was damaged due to stroke.
For example, damage in the left hemisphere of your brain will cause weakness and paralysis on the right side of your body. If a stroke damages or kills brain cells in the right hemisphere, you may struggle to understand facial cues or control your behavior. However, brain damage due to stroke is not necessarily permanent.
[Abstract] Robotic approaches for the rehabilitation of upper limb recovery after stroke: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
This systematic review with a meta-analysis of studies was carried out to evaluate the effectiveness of robotic training (RT) and conventional training (CT) in improving the motor recovery of paretic upper limbs in stroke patients. Numerous electronic databases were searched from January 2000 to May 2016. Finally, 13 randomized-controlled trials fulfilled the inclusion criteria and were included in the three meta-analyses. The first meta-analysis carried out for those studies using RT for stroke patients indicated a significant improvement in the RT groups. The second meta-analysis suggested that the upper limb function (measured by Fugl-Meyer test) was significantly improved when RT was used with CT compared with CT alone. The third meta-analysis noted a significant difference in motor recovery between the CT-only and RT groups (RT only or RT combined with CT) in the chronic stages of stroke, but not in the acute or subacute stages. However, the RT group also showed a higher Fugl-Meyer score in patients at both the acute and the subacute stage. RT appeared to have positive outcomes to enhance motor recovery of the paralyzed upper limb. Robotic devices were believed to provide more assistance to patients to help support the weight of the upper limb; thus, active movement training can begin in the early rehabilitation stage. These novel devices may also help those chronic patients to achieve better rehabilitation goals. As a summary, RT could be used in addition to CT to help both therapists and patients in the management of the paralyzed upper limb.
[Abstract] The effect of peripheral nerve electrical stimulation on corticomotor excitability and motor function of the paretic hand in stroke
Electrical stimulation to the stroke-affected paretic upper limb (UL) has been a treatment to promote its motor recovery. Despite its efficacy in promoting muscle strength and enhancing motor training, the underlying neurophysiological mechanism for such motor improvement has not been clear. It is crucial to delineate the corticomotor plasticity effects of electrical stimulation when it is applied as a single entity and as an adjunct to other forms of therapies, since the knowledge would support formulation of effective treatment for the paretic UL in stroke rehabilitation.
This dissertation incorporated 4 studies to examine the corticomotor excitability modulation and motor function effects of electrical stimulation on the paretic UL due to stroke. Study 1 reviewed randomized controlled trials published before 2012 to scrutinize the efficacy of electrical stimulation on motor function improvement as well as corticomotor excitability for muscles in the paretic hand. Results of the meta-analysis showed that electrical stimulation could improve UL motor impairment but not its ability in functional task performance measured with the Action Research Arm Test. The corticomotor excitability changes associated with electrical stimulation could not be concluded because of diverse outcomes reported in only 3 studies. Study 2 was a randomized cross-over sham-controlled experiment (n = 32) set to determine a single session of 1-hour electrical stimulation delivered to the ulnar and radial nerves (PNS) of the paretic UL at an intensity of 2 to 3 sensory thresholds in modulating the corticomotor excitability in both brain hemispheres. The results confirmed that PNS could increase corticomotor excitability in terms of the recruitment curve (RC) slope and peak amplitude of motor-evoked potentials (pMEP) for the corticospinal projections to the contralateral first dorsal interosseous hand muscle (FDI) measured in both hemispheres. The PNS also enhanced better hand pincer dexterity scored by the Purdue pegboard test than the sham stimulation (PNSsham). Then Study 3 was conducted to examine if PNS could condition the corticomotor pathways for another treatment targeting motor improvement in the paretic UL. This pilot randomized cross-over study involved 20 subjects to receive 1-hour PNS paired with observation of movement demonstration in videos (termed action observation, AO) that was introduced during the last 30 minutes of PNS. PNS+AO improved the Purdue dexterity score of the paretic hand, but the change in corticomotor excitability for the contralateral FDI in the lesioned hemisphere was not significant. The control intervention PNSsham+AO did not change any of the outcome measurements. Study 4 further tested the hypothesis that PNS and/or jointly with AO might effectively condition motor training of the paretic UL in enhancing corticomotor plastic changes and hand dexterity. In this randomized sham-controlled cross-over study, 20 subjects in chronic stage of stroke were exposed to 3 separate sessions of different interventions composed of 1-hour PNS or PNSsham paired with 30 minutes of AO or sham AO (AOsham), all followed by 30-minute training of index finger abduction. The results revealed that PNS+AO+Training led to significantly increased corticomotor excitability in terms of RC slope and pMEP amplitude localized in the lesioned hemisphere but that of the intact hemisphere was not altered. This neuroplastic modulation was accompanied by enhanced hand dexterity at 24 hours post-intervention better than the control with PNSsham+AOsham+Training. On the other hand, PNS+AOsham+Training did not modulate corticomotor excitability functions but hand dexterity was increased immediately after the intervention better than after PNSsham+AOsham+Training. Training after PNSsham+AOsham conditioning was not effective on the outcome measurements.
Results of the series of studies supported that (1) one-hour PNS could increase the excitability of corticomotor pathways for the contralateral hand muscle in both the lesioned and intact hemispheres similarly; (2) one-hour PNS alone, or applied as a conditioning treatment in the presence of AO or AOsham prior to movement training in the paretic hand could lead to better hand dexterity than training after sham controls; (3) Up-regulation of corticomotor excitability specifically confined to the stroke-lesioned hemisphere was evident after a session of PNS paired with AO and Training.
To conclude, one session of PNS or PNS-associated interventions for the paretic UL could effectively improve dexterity of the paretic hand in people with chronic stroke. PNS might have primed the corticomotor pathways for AO and motor training to result in corticomotor excitability enhancement specifically confined to the stroke-lesioned hemisphere.
Neuroscience researchers are beginning a clinical trial, involving 150 stroke patients, of a new electronic device that they hope could help recover movement and control of the patients’ hands.
The researchers from Newcastle University are working with colleagues at the Institute of Neurosciences, Kolkata, India, on the trial, which aims to see whether the device could lead to improved hand and arm control.
“We have developed a miniaturized device which delivers an audible click followed by a weak electric shock to the arm muscle to strengthen the brain’s connections. This means the stroke patients in the trial are wearing an earpiece and a pad on the arm, each linked by wires to the device so that the click and shock can be continually delivered to them,” explains Stuart Baker, professor of Movement Neuroscience at Newcastle University, who is leading the trial, in a media release from Newcastle University.
“We think that if they wear this for 4 hours a day we will be able to see a permanent improvement in their extensor muscle connections which will help them gain control on their hand,” adds Baker, senior author of a study about the device, published recently in The Journal of Neuroscience.
This study is the researchers’ report regarding their testing of the device on primates and healthy human participants.
In the study, the release explains, the Newcastle University researchers report how they pair a click in a headphone with an electric shock to a muscle to induce the changes in connections either strengthening or weakening reflexes depending on the sequence selected. They demonstrated that wearing the portable electronic device for seven hours strengthened the signal pathway in more than half of the subjects (15 out of 25).
“We would never have thought of using audible clicks unless we had the recordings from primates to show us that this might work. Furthermore, it is our earlier work in primates which shows that the connections we are changing are definitely involved in stroke recovery,” Baker states.
[Source(s): Newcastle University, Newswise]
[Photo courtesy of Newcastle University]
[ARTICLE] Democratizing Neurorehabilitation: How Accessible are Low-Cost Mobile-Gaming Technologies for Self-Rehabilitation of Arm Disability in Stroke? – Full Text HTML
Motor-training software on tablets or smartphones (Apps) offer a low-cost, widely-available solution to supplement arm physiotherapy after stroke. We assessed the proportions of hemiplegic stroke patients who, with their plegic hand, could meaningfully engage with mobile-gaming devices using a range of standard control-methods, as well as by using a novel wireless grip-controller, adapted for neurodisability. We screened all newly-diagnosed hemiplegic stroke patients presenting to a stroke centre over 6 months. Subjects were compared on their ability to control a tablet or smartphone cursor using: finger-swipe, tap, joystick, screen-tilt, and an adapted handgrip. Cursor control was graded as: no movement (0); less than full-range movement (1); full-range movement (2); directed movement (3). In total, we screened 345 patients, of which 87 satisfied recruitment criteria and completed testing. The commonest reason for exclusion was cognitive impairment. Using conventional controls, the proportion of patients able to direct cursor movement was 38–48%; and to move it full-range was 55–67% (controller comparison: p>0.1). By comparison, handgrip enabled directed control in 75%, and full-range movement in 93% (controller comparison: p<0.001). This difference between controllers was most apparent amongst severely-disabled subjects, with 0% achieving directed or full-range control with conventional controls, compared to 58% and 83% achieving these two levels of movement, respectively, with handgrip. In conclusion, hand, or arm, training Apps played on conventional mobile devices are likely to be accessible only to mildly-disabled stroke patients. Technological adaptations such as grip-control can enable more severely affected subjects to engage with self-training software.
The most important intervention shown to improve physical function after stroke is repetitive, task-directed exercises, supervised by a physiotherapist, with higher intensity leading to faster and greater recovery. In practice, access to physiotherapy is significantly limited by resource availability . For example, 55% of UK stroke in-patients receive less than half the recommended physiotherapy time of 45 minutes per day.
One solution to inadequate physiotherapy is robotic technology, that enables patients to self-practice, with mechanical assistance, via interaction with adapted computer games. While a range of rehabilitation robotics have been marketed over the last decade, and shown to be efficacious, they are not widely used due to factors such as high-cost (typically, $10,000–100,000), cumbersome size, and restriction to patients with high baseline performance, and who have access to specialist rehabilitation centres.
An alternative approach to self-rehabilitation, are medical applications (Apps), or gaming software, run on mobile media devices e.g. tablets or smartphones. Because such devices are low-cost ($200–500), and ubiquitous, they have the potential to democratize computerized-physiotherapy, especially in under-resourced settings, e.g. chronically-disabled in the community. Furthermore, their portability enables home use, while their employment of motivational gaming strategies can potentiate high-intensity motor practice. Accordingly, increasing numbers of motor-training Apps for mobile devices have been commercialised in recent years, and clinical trials are under way. However, since these devices are designed for able-person use, it is questionable as to how well disabled people can access them, and engage meaningfully and repeatedly with rehabilitation software.
This study assesses the degree of motor interaction that can be achieved by hemiplegic stroke patients using four types of conventional hand-control methods (finger swipe, tap, joystick and tilt) for mobile devices. An adapted controller of the same mobile devices, whose materials cost ~$100, was evaluated alongside. Since the latter interface exploits the fact that handgrip is relatively spared in stroke hemiplegia, and is sensitive to subtle forces, we expected that this would increase the range of arm-disability severities able to achieve meaningful computer-game control. In order to assess motor control, with minimal cognitive confounding (given that many softwares also have cognitive demands), we used a simple 1-dimensional motor assessment for all controller types.
[ARTICLE] Self-directed arm therapy at home after stroke with a sensor-based virtual reality training system – Full Text
The effect of rehabilitative training after stroke is dose-dependent. Out-patient rehabilitation training is often limited by transport logistics, financial resources and a lack of motivation/compliance. We studied the feasibility of an unsupervised arm therapy for self-directed rehabilitation therapy in patients’ homes.
An open-label, single group study involving eleven patients with hemiparesis due to stroke (27 ± 31.5 months post-stroke) was conducted. The patients trained with an inertial measurement unit (IMU)-based virtual reality system (ArmeoSenso) in their homes for six weeks. The self-selected dose of training with ArmeoSenso was the principal outcome measure whereas the Fugl-Meyer Assessment of the upper extremity (FMA-UE), the Wolf Motor Function Test (WMFT) and IMU-derived kinematic metrics were used to assess arm function, training intensity and trunk movement. Repeated measures one-way ANOVAs were used to assess differences in training duration and clinical scores over time.
All subjects were able to use the system independently in their homes and no safety issues were reported. Patients trained on 26.5 ± 11.5 days out of 42 days for a duration of 137 ± 120 min per week. The weekly training duration did not change over the course of six weeks (p = 0.146). The arm function of these patients improved significantly by 4.1 points (p = 0.003) in the FMA-UE. Changes in the WMFT were not significant (p = 0.552). ArmeoSenso based metrics showed an improvement in arm function, a high number of reaching movements (387 per session), and minimal compensatory movements of the trunk while training.
Self-directed home therapy with an IMU-based home therapy system is safe and can provide a high dose of rehabilitative therapy. The assessments integrated into the system allow daily therapy monitoring, difficulty adaptation and detection of maladaptive motor patterns such as trunk movements during reaching.
Functional outcome following stroke is positively correlated with the dose of the applied rehabilitative intervention . Therefore, post-stroke therapy should be provided at a high intensity, a high frequency and over long periods of time [1, 2]. However, the delivery of intensive physical therapy requires extensive therapist support, is expensive, and is often limited by the low compliance and lack of motivation to perform rehabilitative training at the recommended frequency . This can lead to functional deterioration, e.g., by learned non-use of the affected limb .
Self-directed home therapy, supported by dedicated instrumented devices [5, 6, 7] or virtual reality gaming platforms [8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13], could help to increase the dose of rehabilitation at low cost without the need for direct supervision by a therapist. It is important that such home therapy adapts to changes in the subject’s performance in order for it to remain challenging and motivating . On the other hand, unsupervised rehabilitative training could lead to inefficient or harmful (i.e. maladaptive) movement sequences or pain, and could potentially worsen performance [8, 11, 14]. Home therapy should, therefore, include monitoring of movement quantity and quality. Several platforms dedicated to upper-extremity home rehabilitation have been proposed [6, 7, 15, 16, 17]. However, to the best of our knowledge only few were actually installed in the patients’ homes for several weeks and tested for feasibility beyond case studies. These home studies always involved some external supervision, in the form of e.g. on-site visits [16, 17], tele-monitoring and adaption [16, 17] or telephone calls [6, 7], which might have affected compliance and motivation and thereby therapy dosage. However, such an approach requires manpower, which limits the affordability and scalability of home-based therapy. The feasibility and compliance of completely unsupervised upper-limb stroke therapy over the course of several weeks remains to be investigated.
In this paper we investigate the feasibility of self-directed home training with the custom-designed ArmeoSenso system , a virtual reality arm rehabilitation platform based on wearable inertial measurement units (IMU). In a clinical study involving eleven patients with hemiparesis of the arm due to stroke, we evaluated the ability to deliver therapy at a high dose through simple-to-use and entertaining, yet functionally relevant and adaptive rehabilitation games. Unsupervised, automated assessments integrated into each therapy session allowed monitoring of arm function, and detection of undesired compensatory movements.
ArmeoSenso training system
Objective: We aimed to develop a goal classification of individualised goals for spasticity treatment incorporating botulinum toxin intervention for upper limb spasticity to under-pin a more structured approach to future goal setting.
Design: Individualised goals for spasticity treatment incorporating botulinum toxin intervention for upper limb spasticity (n=696) were analysed initially from four studies published in 2008-2012, spanning a total of 18 centres (12 in the UK and 6 in Australia). Goals were categorised and mapped onto the closest matching domains of the WHO International Classification of Functioning. Confirmatory analysis included a further 927 goals from a large international cohort study spanning 22 countries published in 2013.
Results: Goal categories could be assigned into two domains, each subdivided into three key goal areas: Domain 1: symptoms/impairment n=322 (46%): a. pain/discomfort n=78 (11%), b. involuntary movements n=75 (11%), c. range of movement/contracture prevention n=162 (23%). Domain 2: Activities/function n=374 (54%): a. passive function (ease of caring for the affected limb) n=242 (35%), b active function (using the affected limb in active tasks) n=84 (12%), c. mobility n=11 (2%).
Over 99% of the goals from the large international cohort fell into the same six areas, confirming the international applicability of the classification.
Conclusions: Goals for management of upper limb spasticity, in worldwide clinical practice, fall into six main goal areas.
[Abstract] Does the use of Nintendo Wii SportsTM improve arm function? Trial of WiiTM in Stroke: A randomized controlled trial and economics analysis
Objective: The Trial of Wii™ in Stroke investigated the efficacy of using the Nintendo Wii Sports™ (WiiTM) to improve affected arm function after stroke.
Design: Multicentre, pragmatic, parallel group, randomized controlled trial.
Setting: Home-based rehabilitation.
Subjects: A total of 240 participants aged 24–90 years with arm weakness following a stroke within the previous six months.
Intervention: Participants were randomly assigned to exercise daily for six weeks using the WiiTM or arm exercises at home.
Main measures: Primary outcome was change in the affected arm function at six weeks follow-up using the Action Research Arm Test. Secondary outcomes included occupational performance, quality of life, arm function at six months and a cost effectiveness analysis.
Results: The study was completed by 209 participants (87.1%). There was no significant difference in the primary outcome of affected arm function at six weeks follow-up (mean difference −1.7, 95% CI −3.9 to 0.5, p = 0.12) and no significant difference in secondary outcomes, including occupational performance, quality of life or arm function at six months, between the two groups. No serious adverse events related to the study treatment were reported. The cost effectiveness analysis showed that the WiiTM was more expensive than arm exercises £1106 (SD 1656) vs. £730 (SD 829) (probability 0.866).
Conclusion: The trial showed that the WiiTM was not superior to arm exercises in home-based rehabilitation for stroke survivors with arm weakness. The WiiTM was well tolerated but more expensive than arm exercises.