Posts Tagged hemiparesis

[ARTICLE] Home-based neurologic music therapy for arm hemiparesis following stroke: results from a pilot, feasibility randomized controlled trial – Full Text


Continue —> Home-based neurologic music therapy for arm hemiparesis following stroke: results from a pilot, feasibility randomized controlled trialClinical Rehabilitation – Alexander J Street, Wendy L Magee, Andrew Bateman, Michael Parker, Helen Odell-Miller, Jorg Fachner, 2017


Figure 1. Study flow diagram. Data collection occurred at weeks 1, 6, 9, 15 and 18. Cross-over analysis required data from weeks 1, 6, 9 and 15.

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[ARTICLE] Robotic-assisted serious game for motor and cognitive post-stroke rehabilitation – Full Text PDF



Stroke is a major cause of long-term disability that can cause motor and cognitive impairments. New technologies such as robotic devices and serious games are increasingly being developed to improve post-stroke rehabilitation. The aim of the present project was to develop a ROBiGAME serious game to simultaneously improve motor and cognitive deficits (in particular hemiparesis and hemineglect). In this context, the difficulty level of the game was adapted to each patient’s performance, and this individualized adaptation was addressed as the main challenge of the game development. The game was implemented on the REAplan end-effector rehabilitation robot, which was used in continuous interaction with the game. A preliminary feasibility study of a target pointing game was run in order to validate the game features and parameters. Results showed that the game was perceived as enjoyable, and that patients reported a desire to play the game again. Most of the targets included in the game design were realistic, and they were well perceived by the patients. Results also suggested that the cognitive help strategy could include one visual prompting cue, possibly combined with an auditory cue. It was observed that the motor assistance provided by the robot was well adapted for each patient’s impairments, but the study results led to a suggestion that the triggering conditions should be reviewed. Patients and therapists reported the desire to receive more feedback on the patient’s performances. Nevertheless, more patients and therapists are needed to play the game in order to give further and more comprehensive feedback that will allow for improvements of the serious game. Future steps also include the validation of the motivation assessment module that is currently under development.

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[Abstract] A Randomized Trial on the Effects of Attentional Focus on Motor Training of the Upper Extremity Using Robotics with Individuals after Chronic Stroke 



  • Individuals with moderate-to-severe arm impairment after stroke improved motor control after engaging in high-repetition training
  • There were no differences between external focus or internal focus of attention on retention of motor skills after four weeks of arm training for individuals with stroke
  • Individuals with moderate-to-severe arm impairment may not experience the advantages of an external focus during motor training found in healthy individuals
  • Attentional focus is most likely not an active ingredient for retention of trained motor skills for individuals with moderate-to-severe arm impairment



To compare the long-term effects of external focus (EF) versus internal focus (IF) of attention after 4-weeks of arm training. Design: Randomized, repeated measure, mixed ANOVA.


Outpatient clinic.


33 individuals with stroke and moderate-to-severe arm impairment living in the community (3 withdrawals).


4-week arm training protocol on the InMotion ARM robot (12 sessions).

Main Outcome Measures

Joint independence, Fugl-Meyer Assessment, and Wolf Motor Function Test measured at baseline, discharge, and 4-week follow-up.


There were no between-group effects for attentional focus. Participants in both groups improved significantly on all outcome measures from baseline to discharge and maintained those changes at 4-week follow-up regardless of group assignment [Jt indep-EF, F(1.6, 45.4) = 17.74, p<.0005, partial η2=.39; Jt indep-IF, F(2, 56)= 18.66, p<.0005, partial η2=.40; FMA, F(2, 56) = 27.83, p<.0005, partial η2=.50 ; WMFT, F(2, 56) =14.05, p<.0005, partial η2=.35].


There were no differences in retention of motor skills between EF and IF participants four weeks after arm training, suggesting that individuals with moderate-to-severe arm impairment may not experience the advantages of an EF found in healthy individuals. Attentional focus is most likely not an active ingredient for retention of trained motor skills for individuals with moderate-to-severe arm impairment, whereas dosage and intensity of practice appear to be pivotal. Future studies should investigate the long-term effects of attentional focus for individuals with mild arm impairment.

Source: A Randomized Trial on the Effects of Attentional Focus on Motor Training of the Upper Extremity Using Robotics with Individuals after Chronic Stroke – Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

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[BOOK] Chapter 7: After Stroke Movement Impairments: A Review of Current Technologies for Rehabilitation – Full Text


 “Physical Disabilities – Therapeutic Implications”, book edited by Uner Tan, ISBN 978-953-51-3248-6, Print ISBN 978-953-51-3247-9, Published: June 14, 2017 under CC BY 3.0 license. © The Author(s)

Chapter 7: After Stroke Movement Impairments: A Review of Current Technologies for Rehabilitation


This chapter presents a review of the rehabilitation technologies for people who have suffered a stroke, comparing and analyzing the impact that these technologies have on their recovery in the short and long term. The problematic is presented, and motor impairments for upper and lower limbs are characterized. The goal of this chapter is to show novel trends and research for the assistance and treatment of motor impairment caused by strokes.

1. Introduction

Stroke is the most common acquired neurological disease in the adult population worldwide (15 million every year [1]). Based on recently published studies, incidence of stroke in Europe at the beginning of the twenty-first century ranged from 95 to 290/100,000 per year [37]. Between 2000 and 2010, the relative rate of stroke deaths dropped by 35.8% in the United States and other countries. However, each year stroke affects nearly 800,000 individuals, becoming the first cause of chronic disability and the third cause of death. It is a global public health problem worldwide that generates a significant burden of illness for healthy life years lost due to disability and premature death.

One-third of stroke survivors achieve only a poor functional outcome 5 years after the onset of stroke. Although there is great progress in the management of acute stroke, most of the care to reduce dependence on post-stroke patients depends on rehabilitation. Optimal functional recovery is the ultimate goal of neurorehabilitation after acute brain injury, mainly by optimizing sensorimotor performance in functional actions. New brain imaging techniques are making it clear that the neurological system is continually remodeling throughout life and after damage through experience and learning in response to activity and behavior.

Rehabilitation in stroke patients seeks to minimize the neurological deficit and its complications, encourage family, and facilitate social reintegration of the individual to ultimately improve their quality of life. Stroke rehabilitation is divided into three phases. The acute phase usually extends for the 1st weeks, where patients get treated and stabilized in a hospital and get stabilized. Subacute phase (1–6 months) is the phase where the rehabilitation process is more effective for recovering functions. In chronic phase (after 6 months), rehabilitation is meant to treat and decrease motor sequels.

The potential ability of the brain to readapt after injury is known as neuroplasticity, which is the basic mechanism underlying improvement in functional outcome after stroke. Therefore, one important goal of rehabilitation of stroke patients is the effective use of neuroplasticity for functional recovery [38].

As mentioned before, neural plasticity is the ability of nervous system to reorganize its structure, function, and connections in response to training. The type and extent of neural plasticity is task—specific, highly time-sensitive and strongly influenced by environmental factors as well as motivation and attention.

Current understanding of mechanisms underlying neural plasticity changes after stroke stems from experimental models as well as clinical studies and provides the foundation for evidence-based neurorehabilitation. Evidence accumulated during the past 2 decades together with recent advances in the field of stroke recovery clearly shows that the effects of neurorehabilitation can be enhanced by behavioral manipulations in combination with adjuvant therapies that stimulate the endogenous neural plasticity.

Nowadays, a large toolbox of training-oriented rehabilitation techniques has been developed, which allows the increase of independence and quality of life of the patients and their families [39]. The recovery of function has been shown to depend on the intensity of therapy, repetition of specified-skilled movements directed toward the motor deficits and rewarded with performance-dependent feedback.

The use of technological devices not only helps to increase these aspects but also facilitates the work of therapists in order to enhance the abilities of patients and a higher level of functional recovery. They create environments with a greater amount of sensorimotor stimuli that enhance the neuroplasticity of patients, translating into a successful functional recovery. The use of technological devices can transfer the effects of rehabilitation to the different environments where patients spend their daily life allowing a favorable social reintegration. In this chapter, a review of technologies for rehabilitation of mobility in upper and lower extremity is presented.[…]

Continue —>  After Stroke Movement Impairments: A Review of Current Technologies for Rehabilitation | InTechOpen

Figure 1. Mechanical treatment devices. (a) Armeo Spring and (b) Saebo ReJoyce.

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[ARTICLE] Changes in arm-hand function and arm-hand skill performance in patients after stroke during and after rehabilitation – Full Text




Arm-hand rehabilitation programs applied in stroke rehabilitation frequently target specific populations and thus are less applicable in heterogeneous patient populations. Besides, changes in arm-hand function (AHF) and arm-hand skill performance (AHSP) during and after a specific and well-described rehabilitation treatment are often not well evaluated.


This single-armed prospective cohort study featured three subgroups of stroke patients with either a severely, moderately or mildly impaired AHF. Rehabilitation treatment consisted of a Concise_Arm_and_hand_ Rehabilitation_Approach_in_Stroke (CARAS). Measurements at function and activity level were performed at admission, clinical discharge, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months after clinical discharge.


Eighty-nine stroke patients (M/F:63/23; mean age:57.6yr (+/-10.6); post-stroke time:29.8 days (+/-20.1)) participated. All patients improved on AHF and arm-hand capacity during and after rehabilitation, except on grip strength in the severely affected subgroup. Largest gains occurred in patients with a moderately affected AHF. As to self-perceived AHSP, on average, all subgroups improved over time. A small percentage of patients declined regarding self-perceived AHSP post-rehabilitation.


A majority of stroke patients across the whole arm-hand impairment severity spectrum significantly improved on AHF, arm-hand capacity and self-perceived AHSP. These were maintained up to one year post-rehabilitation. Results may serve as a control condition in future studies.


One of the most common deficits following stroke is a persistent impairment of the arm and hand due to a hemiparesis, which has a significant impact on performance in daily life activities [1]. Recovery of arm-hand function and skills is a major rehabilitation and health care challenge. Motor rehabilitation approaches for arm-hand performance after stroke has been changing substantially over the last decades. However, an integral arm-hand skill training approach, accommodating both the heterogeneity of the patient population and its associated patterns and levels of recovery directly post-stroke seems to be absent. A large number of well-explored and well-investigated examples of training approaches in specific (sub) populations have been identified [2] like, for instance, task-oriented training [3], mental practice [4] and constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) [5]. In task-oriented approaches specific functional, skill-related tasks are trained. This is done preferably by using real-life objects [6], thereby teaching patients to solve specific problems related to, e.g., anticipatory motor adjustments or cognitive processing by using efficient goal-oriented movement strategies [7, 8].

Existing task-oriented arm-hand programs (e.g. [916]) are valuable contributions to rehabilitation practice and may offer a stable point of departure for clinicians to select the most appropriate therapy for a particular patient.

However, several aspects make it difficult for clinicians to choose the most appropriate arm-hand therapy intervention(s) for a particular patient: 1) Most studies or programs target specific populations (in particular those with some preservation of wrist and/or finger extension) and thus are less applicable for patients with a more severely affected arm-hand as seen in the heterogeneous populations of many rehabilitation centres [17]. 2) Programs are focused on either the arm or the hand alone. 3) Most of the current studies in research projects feature strictly protocolled interventions, which cannot be easily adopted in the clinicians’ daily practice. 4) The lack of information about the proportional improvement or deterioration to be expected in stroke survivors in the sub-acute phase after stroke may lead to difficulties for clinicians to make decisions about arm-hand treatment objectives and concomitant prognostics regarding arm-hand skill performance.

In order to overcome these four drawbacks a Concise Arm and hand Rehabilitation Approach in Stroke (acronym: CARAS) [18] was developed in order to guide clinicians, during their daily practice, in systematically designing a patient’s optimal arm-hand rehabilitation program. CARAS is based on four constructs: a) stratification of the patient population is based on the severity of arm–hand impairment for which the Utrechtse Arm-hand Test (UAT) is used [19], b) clear focus on the individual’s rehabilitation goals and concomitant potential rehabilitation treatment outcomes, c) principles of self-efficacy, and d) possibility to systematically incorporate (new) technology and new evidence-based training elements swiftly. CARAS has proven to be feasible in a number of stroke units of rehabilitation centres throughout the Netherlands.

In the present study, the term ‘arm–hand function’ (AHF) refers to the ICF ‘body function and structures level’. The term ‘arm-hand skilled performance’ (AHSP) refers to the ICF activity level, covering both capacity and performance [20].

The present paper focusses on two aspects.

Firstly, during rehabilitation AHF and AHSP may improve to a certain level. However, once a stroke patient has left the rehabilitation program, his arm-hand capacity and performance may deteriorate [21]. Whereas stroke patients with mild to moderate initial impairments show an almost fixed amount of recovery after stroke, ranging up to 70% [22, 23], stroke patients with a more severely affected arm-hand, i.e. absence of finger extension combined with large motor impairments, strongly lag behind this recovery percentage. Four years after stroke, 67% of stroke survivors still experience non-use or disuse of the moderately or severely affected arm–hand [24].

However, it is neither well understood at what rate such deterioration (or improvement) occurs, nor in which patient categories, i.e. patients with a certain level of arm-hand severity, this is most prominent. Answers to these questions are essential for the development of more adequate, personalised and cost-effective interventions that may augment and/or maintain arm-hand skill performance (AHSP) levels in stroke patients living in their home environment.

Secondly, the risk of losing the opportunity to clearly define ‘therapy-as-usual’ (TAU) is becoming a problem in AHSP research in stroke patients. In the myriad of studies evaluating newly developed training protocols aimed at improving AHF and/or AHSP, each of these new training approaches is contrasted to some kind of TAU, the latter of which may vary widely between clinics and institutes. Even worse, often TAU is not clearly defined at all.

As the implementation of many of the tested experimental treatments progresses, the concept of ‘therapy-as-usual’ inevitably will be lost.

The aim of the present study was to evaluate the course AHF and AHSP take in a broad range of sub-acute stroke patients during and after rehabilitation involving a therapy-as-usual (i.e. CARAS) [18].

Three subgroups, i.e. a subgroup of patients with a severely affected arm-hand, a subgroup of patients with a moderately affected arm-hand and a subgroup of patients with a mildly affected arm-hand, were formed.

The research questions were:

  1. To what extent do arm-hand function and arm-hand skill performance in stroke patients change during and after their rehabilitation involving therapy-as-usual?
  2. To what extent does the rate of improvement or deterioration (over time) of arm-hand function and arm-hand skill performance differ between three subgroups of stroke patients, i.e. patients with either a severely, moderately or mildly affected functional arm-hand, during and after their rehabilitation involving CARAS?[…]

Continue —> Changes in arm-hand function and arm-hand skill performance in patients after stroke during and after rehabilitation

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[ARTICLE] Video Game Rehabilitation for Outpatient Stroke (VIGoROUS): protocol for a multi-center comparative effectiveness trial of in-home gamified constraint-induced movement therapy for rehabilitation of chronic upper extremity hemiparesis – Full Text




Constraint-Induced Movement therapy (CI therapy) is shown to reduce disability, increase use of the more affected arm/hand, and promote brain plasticity for individuals with upper extremity hemiparesis post-stroke. Randomized controlled trials consistently demonstrate that CI therapy is superior to other rehabilitation paradigms, yet it is available to only a small minority of the estimated 1.2 million chronic stroke survivors with upper extremity disability. The current study aims to establish the comparative effectiveness of a novel, patient-centered approach to rehabilitation utilizing newly developed, inexpensive, and commercially available gaming technology to disseminate CI therapy to underserved individuals. Video game delivery of CI therapy will be compared against traditional clinic-based CI therapy and standard upper extremity rehabilitation. Additionally, individual factors that differentially influence response to one treatment versus another will be examined.


This protocol outlines a multi-site, randomized controlled trial with parallel group design. Two hundred twenty four adults with chronic hemiparesis post-stroke will be recruited at four sites. Participants are randomized to one of four study groups: (1) traditional clinic-based CI therapy, (2) therapist-as-consultant video game CI therapy, (3) therapist-as-consultant video game CI therapy with additional therapist contact via telerehabilitation/video consultation, and (4) standard upper extremity rehabilitation. After 6-month follow-up, individuals assigned to the standard upper extremity rehabilitation condition crossover to stand-alone video game CI therapy preceded by a therapist consultation. All interventions are delivered over a period of three weeks. Primary outcome measures include motor improvement as measured by the Wolf Motor Function Test (WMFT), quality of arm use for daily activities as measured by Motor Activity Log (MAL), and quality of life as measured by the Quality of Life in Neurological Disorders (NeuroQOL).


This multi-site RCT is designed to determine comparative effectiveness of in-home technology-based delivery of CI therapy versus standard upper extremity rehabilitation and in-clinic CI therapy. The study design also enables evaluation of the effect of therapist contact time on treatment outcomes within a therapist-as-consultant model of gaming and technology-based rehabilitation.


Clinical practice guidelines recommend outpatient rehabilitation for stroke survivors who remain disabled after discharge from inpatient rehabilitation [1]. Although these guidelines recommend that the majority of stroke survivors receive at least some outpatient rehabilitation [2], many cannot access long-term care [3]. Among those individuals who do undergo outpatient rehabilitation, the standard of care for upper extremity rehabilitation is suboptimal.

In an observational study of 312 rehabilitation sessions (83 occupational and physical therapists at 7 rehabilitation sites), Lang and colleagues [4] found that functional rehabilitation (i.e., movement that accomplishes a functional task, such as eating, as opposed to strength training or passive movement) was provided in only 51% of the sessions of upper extremity rehabilitation, with only 45 repetitions per session on average. This is concerning given that empirically-validated interventions incorporate higher doses of active motor practice [5, 6, 7]. Additionally, functional upper extremity movements are most likely to generalize to everyday tasks [8], an aspect of recovery that is critically important to patients and their families [9, 10, 11]. Yet, passive movement and non-goal-directed exercise are more frequently administered [4].

There appear to be at least two critical elements required for successful upper extremity motor rehabilitation: 1) motor practice that is sufficiently intense and 2) techniques to carryover motor improvements to functional activities. Carry-over techniques to increase a person’s use of the more affected upper extremity for daily activities are extremely important for rehabilitation and appear necessary for structural brain change [12, 13, 14, 15]. When rehabilitation incorporates these techniques, there is substantially improved improvement in self-perceived quality of arm use for daily activities [12, 16]. Carry-over techniques enable the patient to overcome the conditioned suppression of movement (learned nonuse) characteristic of chronic hemiparesis [17]. Techniques include structured self-monitoring, a treatment contract, daily home practice of specific functional motor skills, and guided problem-solving to overcome perceived barriers to using the extremity [18].

Constraint-Induced Movement therapy (CI therapy) has strong empirical backing [5, 19] and combines high-repetition functional practice of the more affected arm with behavioral techniques to enhance carry-over [13, 18]. CI therapy produces consistently superior motor performance and retention of gains versus standard upper extremity rehabilitation [20, 21], particularly when it includes the critically important carry-over (transfer package) techniques [12]. When compared to other equally intensive interventions (i.e., equal hours of training on functional tasks), CI therapy with carry-over (transfer package) techniques has also shown enhanced carry-over of clinical gains to daily activities [12, 13, 22, 23, 24] that are retained for at least 2 years [19, 25, 26, 27, 28].

Despite its inclusion in best practice recommendations [29, 30], CI therapy is available to only a very small minority of those who could benefit from it in the US. CI therapy is not typically covered by insurance and the 30+ hours of assessment and physical training cost upwards of $6000. Access barriers for the patient include limited transportation and insurance coverage, whereas therapists may have difficulty accommodating the CI therapy schedule [31, 32]. Access barriers aside, CI therapy has also been plagued by a variety of misconceptions regarding use of restraint and the transfer package. Most iterations of CI therapy employ use of a restraint mitt to promote use of the affected arm, which is viewed by many patients and clinicians as excessively prohibitive [32]. Yet, literature demonstrates that restraint is not specifically required to achieve positive outcomes [33, 34]. Moreover, the transfer package, a component found to be critical [13, 14], is omitted from the majority of research studies on CI therapy [35].

To address transportation barriers, a telerehabilitation model of CI therapy delivery (AutoCITE) has been tested. AutoCITE is a large specialized motor apparatus (not commercially available, cost not established) that was installed in patients’ homes to enable therapeutic manipulation of actual objects with continuous video monitoring via Internet. This telerehabilitation approach demonstrated efficacy approximately equivalent to that of in-clinic CI therapy [36, 37, 38], thus establishing the feasibility of utilizing technology to deliver CI therapy remotely. However, this system involved specialized equipment at a high cost and did not become available outside a research setting.

To more fully address the barriers to accessing CI therapy and to counter the misconceptions surrounding CI therapy, a patient-centered treatment approach was developed that incorporated the high-repetition practice and carry-over strategies from CI therapy, while reforming non-patient-centric elements of the protocol that lack strong empirical support (i.e., the restraint). To deliver engaging high-repetition practice, a Kinect-based video game was created that can accommodate a wide range of motor disability, can be customized to each user, and automatically progresses in difficulty as the individual’s performance improves (termed “shaping” in the CI therapy literature). A player’s body movements drive game play (there is no external controller), which makes the game easy to use for those who may be unfamiliar with technology. To date, such high-repetition practice through motor gaming [39] has shown initial promise compared to traditional clinic-based approaches [40]. To promote increased use of the weaker arm, a smart watch biofeedback application is utilized in lieu of the restraint mitt. This application counts movements made with the weaker arm and provides alerts when a period of inactivity is detected. Previous approaches for providing CI therapy in the home and reducing the amount of therapist effort have been carried out [36, 37, 38, 41]. These approaches automated the delivery of training and permitted remote supervision of the training via an Internet-based audio-visual link, but did not embed the training within the context of a video game, rely on manipulation of virtual objects, or incorporate a patient-centric substitute for the mitt.

Initial evidence from a pilot trial of this system (Borstad A, Crawfis R, Phillips K, Pax Lowes L, Worthen-Chaudhari L, Maung D, et al.: In-home delivery of constraint induced movement therapy via virtual reality gaming is safe and feasible: a pilot study, submitted) suggests that improvements in motor speed, as measured by Wolf Motor Function Test (WMFT) performance time [42], an outcome of prime importance to stroke survivors, are approximately equivalent to those reported in the traditional CI therapy literature [5, 13, 19, 25]. Qualitative data reveal that the technology is accepted irrespective of age, technological expertise, ethnicity, or cultural background. Thus, this technology has the potential to address the main barriers to adoption of CI therapy, while reducing the cost of care. A randomized clinical trial is now required to provide Level 1 evidence of the comparative effectiveness of this novel model of CI therapy delivery. Data from this trial will enable individuals with motor disability to evaluate whether a home-based video game therapy has the potential to help them meet their rehabilitation goals compared to in-clinic CI therapy and traditional approaches. By combining novel gaming elements with the transfer package from CI therapy, this trial will also address a major limitation of rehabilitation gaming interventions that have been tried to date: extremely limited emphasis on carry-over of training to daily activities.

The primary objective of this trial is to compare the effectiveness of two video game-based models of CI therapy versus traditional clinic-based CI therapy versus standard upper extremity rehabilitation for improving upper extremity motor function. One video gaming group will match the number of total hours spent on the CI therapy transfer package, but will involve fewer days of therapist-client interaction (4 versus 10); the other will match the number of interactions with a therapist to that of clinic-based CI therapy using video consultation between in-person sessions and, as such, will involve more therapist contact hours spent focusing on the transfer package. The secondary objective of this project is to promote personalized medicine by examining individual factors that may differentially influence response to one treatment versus another.

Continue —>  Video Game Rehabilitation for Outpatient Stroke (VIGoROUS): protocol for a multi-center comparative effectiveness trial of in-home gamified constraint-induced movement therapy for rehabilitation of chronic upper extremity hemiparesis | BMC Neurology | Full Text

Fig. 1 Screen capture of the Recovery Rapids gaming environment

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[Conference Paper Abstract] Effectiveness of dual-tDCS in combination with upper limb robotic-assisted rehabilitation: a randomised, double-blind, cross-over study

Background: The impact of transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) is controversial in the neurorehabilitation literature. It has been suggested that tDCS should be combined with other therapy to improve their efficacy.

Aim: To assess the effectiveness of upper limb robotic-assisted therapy (RAT) combined with real or sham-tDCS in chronic stroke patients.

Methods: Twenty-one hemiparetic stroke patients were included in a randomised, controlled, double-blind, cross-over study. Each patient underwent two therapy sessions seven days apart in a randomised order: (1) 20 minutes of real dual-tDCS associated with RAT (REAL+RAT) and (2) 20 minutes of sham dual-tDCS associated with RAT (SHAM+RAT). Patient dexterity (Box & Block and Purdue Pegboard tests) and upper limb kinematics were evaluated before and just after each intervention. The assistance provided by the robot during the intervention was also recorded.

Results: Gross manual dexterity (1.8 +/- 0.7 blocks, p=0.008) and straightness of movement (0.01 +/- 0.03, p<0.05) improved slightly after REAL+RAT compare to before the intervention. There was no improvement after SHAM+RAT. The post-hoc analyses did not objectify difference between interventions: REAL+RAT and SHAM+RAT (p>0.05). The assistance provided by the robot was similar during the two interventions (p>0.05).

Conclusion: The results demonstrated a slight improvement in hand dexterity and arm movement after the REAL+RAT tDCS intervention. The observed effect after one session was small and not clinically relevant, but repetitive sessions could increase the benefits of this combined approach.

Source: Effectiveness of dual-tDCS in combination with upper limb robotic-assisted rehabilitation: a randomised, double-blind, cross-over study | – BOREAL

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[ARTICLE] Design and test of an automated version of the modified Jebsen test of hand function using Microsoft Kinect – Full Text



The present paper describes the design and evaluation of an automated version of the Modified Jebsen Test of Hand Function (MJT) based on the Microsoft Kinect sensor.


The MJT was administered twice to 11 chronic stroke subjects with varying degrees of hand function deficits. The test times of the MJT were evaluated manually by a therapist using a stopwatch, and automatically using the Microsoft Kinect sensor. The ground truth times were assessed based on inspection of the video-recordings. The agreement between the methods was evaluated along with the test-retest performance.


The results from Bland-Altman analysis showed better agreement between the ground truth times and the automatic MJT time evaluations compared to the agreement between the ground truth times and the times estimated by the therapist. The results from the test-retest performance showed that the subjects significantly improved their performance in several subtests of the MJT, indicating a practice effect.


The results from the test showed that the Kinect can be used for automating the MJT.


Deficits in motor function, in the form of hemiparesis or hemiplegia, are a frequent consequence of cerebral stroke [1]. Even though motor function may be regained to some extent through intensive rehabilitative training following acute treatment of stroke, deficits in hand function often remain [23]. Following discharge from the rehabilitation unit, patients are typically asked to perform unsupervised self-training in their own home. The lack of supervision during training at home will likely have an impact on the patient’s training compliance and training quality. Therefore, it is important to perform regular evaluations of the patient’s functional level in order to provide useful supervision and to maintain patient motivation. The patients’ performance in a specific motor function test provides valuable insight into whether the training scheme chosen for a patient is effective or it should be changed. Thus, it is very important that the motor function tests being used are objective and reflect the actual functional level of the patient being tested. Several validated motor function tests including assessment of hand function exist, e.g. Jebsen Test of Hand Function [4], Action Research Arm Test [5], Fugl-Meyer Assessment [6], Wolf Motor Function Test (WMFT) [7], Box and Blocks Test [8] and Nine Hole Peg Test [9]. Common for all these tests is that they must be administered by a therapist, which might be a source for variability in the test results, and cause the test results not always to be completely reproducible and objective. In tests including performance time as an outcome measure, e.g. the WMFT, the reaction time of the subject could introduce a bias to the results, as suggested by previous studies [1011]. Likewise, the end time of the test would likely be subjected to a bias, since the examiner has a finite reaction time. Thus, both the reaction time of the examiner and the subject could be potential sources of bias and variability in timed motor function tests. The sensitivity of a motor function test is affected by sources of bias and variability and therefore it is of interest to minimize these, to make detection of even small changes possible.

By automating motor function tests, the objectivity of the tests would be increased. This might also make possible to use the tests at remote sites, without direct supervision, as a part of a tele-rehabilitation service. Finally, automated tests could be administered more frequently. Previous studies have shown that selected parts of the WMFT can be automated by use of motion sensors mounted on the body of healthy subjects [10] and stroke patients [11]. Both systems automated the test by analyzing three-dimensional kinematics data from body-worn sensors (inertial measurement units) mounted on the most affected wrist, arm and shoulder of stroke patients [1011]. Similarly, using inertial measurement unit sensors, Yang et al. (2013) showed that when administering the 10 m walking test, the output from their system was in close agreement with the walking speeds estimated using a stop-watch [12]. These systems require though correct positioning and mounting of the motion sensors [10]. Huang et al. (2012) showed that also a computer vision based approach, consisting of a monitor camera and a Xilinx Virtex II Pro Field Programmable Gate Array (for computation), may be used for automating the WMFT. All participants being tested had to wear a black sweatband on the wrist of the extremity being tested [13]. Another low-price method for capturing the movements of a patient performing a motor function test is the Microsoft Kinect sensor (Kinect). By using a Kinect, the need for body mounted sensors is eliminated, thus lowering the susceptibility to data loss and easing donning and doffing of the system. Furthermore, the Microsoft Kinect sensor is a low-cost commercially available device. In this paper, we describe the design and test of a Kinect based system for automatic evaluation of a standardized, validated motor function test, administered to stroke patients with hand function deficits. The Modified Jebsen Test of Hand Function (MJT) [14], initially proposed by Bovend’Eerdt et al. (2004) as a test for assessment of gross functional dexterity in stroke patients, was selected for automation as this test is easy to administer and takes short time to complete.

Continue —> Design and test of an automated version of the modified Jebsen test of hand function using Microsoft Kinect | Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation | Full Text

Fig. 3 The edge of the table was detected in the binary image (lower) produced by thresholding the depth image (upper) into two parts, one part containing all pixels with a depth value lower than a depth level of 300 mm below the surface of the table and the other part containing pixels with depth values above this threshold

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


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

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

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

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

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

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[Abstract] A soft supernumerary robotic finger and mobile arm support for grasping compensation and hemiparetic upper limb rehabilitation


In this paper, we present the combination of our soft supernumerary robotic finger i.e. Soft-SixthFinger with a commercially available zero gravity arm support, the SaeboMAS. The overall proposed system can provide the needed assistance during paretic upper limb rehabilitation involving both grasping and arm mobility to solve task-oriented activities. The Soft-SixthFinger is a wearable robotic supernumerary finger designed to be used as an active assistive device by post stroke patients to compensate the paretic hand grasp. The device works jointly with the paretic hand/arm to grasp an object similarly to the two parts of a robotic gripper. The SaeboMAS is a commercially available mobile arm support to neutralize gravity effects on the paretic arm specifically designed to facilitate and challenge the weakened shoulder muscles during functional tasks. The proposed system has been designed to be used during the rehabilitation phase when the arm is potentially able to recover its functionality, but the hand is still not able to perform a grasp due to the lack of an efficient thumb opposition. The overall system also act as a motivation tool for the patients to perform task-oriented rehabilitation activities.

With the aid of proposed system, the patient can closely simulate the desired motion with the non-functional arm for rehabilitation purposes, while performing a grasp with the help of the Soft-SixthFinger. As a pilot study we tested the proposed system with a chronic stroke patient to evaluate how the mobile arm support in conjunction with a robotic supernumerary finger can help in performing the tasks requiring the manipulation of grasped object through the paretic arm. In particular, we performed the Frenchay Arm Test (FAT) and Box and Block Test (BBT). The proposed system successfully enabled the patient to complete tasks which were previously impossible to perform.

Source: A soft supernumerary robotic finger and mobile arm support for grasping compensation and hemiparetic upper limb rehabilitation

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