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[ARTICLE] Kinect-based individualized upper extremity rehabilitation is effective and feasible for individuals with stroke using a transition from clinic to home protocol – Full Text PDF

Purpose: To investigate the effectiveness and feasibility of Kinect-based upper
extremity rehabilitation on functional performance in chronic stroke survivors.
Methods: This was a single cohort pre-post test study. Participants (N=10; mean age =
62.5 ± 9.06) engaged in Kinect-based training three times a week for four to five weeks
in a university laboratory. To simulate a clinic to home transfer condition,
individualized guidance was given to participants at the initial three sessions followed
by independent usage. Outcomes included Fugl-Meyer assessment of upper extremity,
Wolf Motor Function Test, Stroke Impact Scale, Confidence of Arm and Hand
Movement and Active Range of Motion. Participant experience was assessed using a
structured questionnaire and a semi-structured interview.
Results. Improvement was found in Fugl-Meyer assessment scores (p=0.001), Wolf
Motor Function Test, (p=0.008), Active Range of Motion (p<0.05) and Stroke Impact
Scale-Hand function (p=0.016). Clinically important differences were found in FuglMeyer
assessment scores (Δ= 5.70 ± 3.47) and Wolf Motor Function Test (Δ Time= –
4.45 ± 6.02; ∆ Functional Ability Scores= 0.29 ± 0.31). All participants could use the
system independently and recognized the importance of exercise individualization by
the therapist.
Conclusions. The Kinect-based UE rehabilitation provided clinically important
functional improvements to our study participants.

Introduction

Stroke is the leading cause of long-term adult disability in the United States [1].
More than a half of survivors continue suffering from upper-limb hemiparesis poststroke with only 5% of people recovering their full arm function [2]. The persistent
upper-limb dysfunction significantly impairs motor performance, and results in a
serious decline in functional ability as well as quality of life [3]. Intensive and repeated
practice with the paretic arm appears necessary to enhance arm recovery and facilitate
neural reorganization [4-7]. Nevertheless, the healthcare system provides limited
amounts and duration of therapy, making it difficult for stroke survivors to achieve
maximal arm recovery before discharge from outpatient rehabilitation or home care
[8,9]. Therefore, identifying novel modalities that are accessible and affordable to the
general public while allowing continued practice of the arm is imperative for improving
long-term upper-limb outcomes after stroke.
One potential approach is the use of low-cost virtual reality (VR)-based systems,
for example, the Microsoft Kinect system. The Kinect is a vision-based motion
capturing system that can detect gesture and movements of the body through its RGA
camera and depth sensors. It allows users to interact with the VR-based system without
holding or wearing specialized equipment or markers for tracking. Users can play
games or practice exercises using natural movements while observing the performance of their virtual avatars shown in real-time on the computer screen. Through this interactive observation and feedback, stroke survivors can correct their movements towards more normal patterns. Furthermore, the Kinect is small and portable, thus enabling stroke survivors to practice exercises in a familiar and private environment. […]

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