Worldwide, stroke is the third cause of physical disability, rehabilitation therapy is a main topic of focus for the recovery of life quality. Rehabilitation of these patients presents great challenges since many of them do not find the motivation to perform the necessary exercises, or do not have the economic resources or the adequate support to receive physiotherapy. For several years now, an alternative that has been in development is game-based rehabilitation, since this could be used in a hospital environment and eventually at patients home. The aim of this review is to present the advances in videogames technology to be used for rehabilitation and training purposes- in preparation for prosthetics fitting or Neuroprosthesis control training–, as well as the devices that are being used to make this alternative more tangible. Videogames technology rehabilitation still has several challenges to work on, more research and development of platforms to have a larger variety of games to engage with different age-range patients is still necessary.
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via Upper Limb Rehabilitation Therapies Based in Videogames Technology Review – IEEE Conference Publication
Stroke is one of the main causes of disabilities caused by injuries to the human central nervous system, yielding a wide range of mild to severe impairments that can compromise sensorimotor and cognitive functions. Although rehabilitation protocols may improve function of stroke survivors, patients often reach plateaus while undergoing therapy. Recently, virtual reality (VR) technologies have been paired with traditional rehabilitation aiming to improve function recovery after stroke. Aiming to better understand structural brain changes due to VR rehabilitation protocols, we modeled the brain as a graph and extracted three measures representing the network’s topology: degree, clustering coefficient and betweenness centrality (BC). In this single case study, our results indicate that all metrics increased on the ipsilesional hemisphere, while remaining about the same at the contrale-sional site. Particularly, the number of functional connections increased in the lesion area overtime. In addition, the BC displayed the highest variations, and in brain regions related to the patient’s cognitive and motor impairments; hence, we argue that this measure could be regarded as an indicative for brain plasticity mechanisms.
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via Complex network changes during a virtual reality rehabilitation protocol following stroke: a case study – IEEE Conference Publication
This paper presented a game-based rehabilitation of the upper limb after stroke. We designed and developed a game for supporting stroke patients to have an exercise their arms, and the game had functions for recording their playing and showing a performance report. The performance report can infer the progress of bilateral uppper-limb rehabilitation and use for comparing among patient cases. This is because the game used a Kinect device to detect the arm movements in aspect of precision and speed.
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via Towards Bilateral Upper-Limb Rehabilitation after Stroke using Kinect Game – IEEE Conference Publication
In the modern world, due to an increased aging population, hand disability is becoming increasingly common. The prevalence of conditions such as stroke is placing an ever-growing burden on the limited fiscal resources of health care providers and the capacity of their physical therapy staff. As a solution, this paper presents a novel design for a wearable and adaptive glove for patients so that they can practice rehabilitative activities at home, reducing the workload for therapists and increasing the patient’s independence. As an initial evaluation of the design’s feasibility the prototype was subjected to motion analysis to compare its performance with the hand in an assessment of grasping patterns of a selection of blocks and spheres. The outcomes of this paper suggest that the theory of design has validity and may lead to a system that could be successful in the treatment of stroke patients to guide them through finger flexion and extension, which could enable them to gain more control and confidence in interacting with the world around them.
In the modern world an extended life expectancy coupled with a sedentary lifestyle raises concerns over long term health in the population. This is highlighted by the increasing incidence of disability stemming from multiple sources, for example medical conditions such as cancer or stroke . While avoiding the lifestyle factors that have a high association with these diseases would be the preferred solutions of health services the world over, as populations get progressively older and more sedentary, this becomes increasingly more difficult , . The treatment of these conditions is often complex; in stroke for example, the initial incident is a constriction of blood flow in the brain which in turn damages the nervous system’s ability to communicate with the rest of the body. This damage will occur in one hemisphere of the body but can impact both the upper and lower limbs, as well as impairing functional processes such as speech and cognitive thinking.
via Design and Evaluation of a Soft and Wearable Robotic Glove for Hand Rehabilitation – IEEE Journals & Magazine
Serious Games and Virtual Reality (VR) are being considered at present as an alternative to traditional rehabilitation therapies. In this paper, the ongoing development of a framework focused on rehabilitation and assessment of the upper limb motor function based on serious games as a source of entertainment for physiotherapy patients is described. A set of OpenSource Serious Games for rehabilitation has been developed, using the last version of Microsoft1® Kinect™ as low cost monitoring sensor and the software Unity. These Serious Games captures 3D human body data and it stored them in the patient database to facilitate a later clinical analysis to the therapist. Also, a VR-based system for the automated assessment of motor function based on Fugl-Meyer Assessment Test (FMA) is addressed. The proposed system attempts to be an useful therapeutic tool for tele-rehabilitation in order to reduce the number of patients, time spent and cost to
Biomechanical analysis is an important feature during the evaluation and clinical diagnosis of motor deficits caused by traumas or neurological diseases. For that reason Motion capture (MoCap) systems are widely used in biomechanical studies, in order to collect position data from anatomical landmarks with high accuracy. Their results are used to estimate joint movements, positions, and muscle forces. These quantitative results improve the tracking of changes in motor functions over time, being more accurately than clinical ratings . For clinical applications, these results are usually transformed into clinically meaningful and interpretable parameters, such as gait speed, motion range of joints and body balance.
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via Towards a framework for rehabilitation and assessment of upper limb motor function based on Serious Games – IEEE Conference Publication
It is evident that the dominant therapy of functional electrical stimulation (FES) for stroke rehabilitation suffers from heavy dependency on therapists experience and lack of feedback from patients status, which decrease the patients’ voluntary participation, reducing the rehabilitation efficacy. This paper proposes a closed loop FES system using surface electromyography (sEMG) bias feedback from bilateral arms for enhancing upper-limb stroke rehabilitation. This wireless portable system consists of sEMG data acquisition and FES modules, the former is used to measure and analyze the subject’s bilateral arm motion intention and neuromuscular states in terms of their sEMG, the latter of multi-channel FES output is controlled via the sEMG bias of the bilateral arms. The system has been evaluated with experiments proving that the system can achieve 39.9 dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) in the lab environment, outperforming existing similar systems. The results also show that voluntary and active participation can be effectively employed to achieve different FES intensity for FES-assisted hand motions, demonstrating the potential for active stroke rehabilitation.
via sEMG Bias-driven Functional Electrical Stimulation System for Upper-Limb Stroke Rehabilitation – IEEE Journals & Magazine
The applications of robotics to the rehabilitation training of neuromuscular impairments have received increasing attention due to their promising prospects. The effectiveness of robot-assisted training directly depends on the control strategy applied in the therapy program. This paper presents an upper extremity exoskeleton for the functional recovery training of disabled patients. A minimal-intervention-based admittance control strategy is developed to induce the active participation of patients and maximize the use of recovered motor functions during training. The proposed control strategy can transit among three control modes, including human-conduct mode, robot-assist mode, and motion-restricted mode, based on the real-time position tracking errors of the end-effector. The human-robot interaction in different working areas can be modulated according to the motion intention of patient. Graphical guidance developed in Unity-3-D environment is introduced to provide visual training instructions. Furthermore, to improve training performance, the controller parameters should be adjusted in accordance with the hemiplegia degree of patients. For the patients with severe paralysis, robotic assistance should be increased to guarantee the accomplishment of training. For the patients recovering parts of motor functions, robotic assistance should be reduced to enhance the training intensity of effected limb and improve therapeutic effectiveness. The feasibility and effectiveness of the proposed control scheme are validated via training experiments with two healthy subjects and six stroke patients with different degrees of hemiplegia.
via Development of a Minimal-Intervention-Based Admittance Control Strategy for Upper Extremity Rehabilitation Exoskeleton – IEEE Journals & Magazine
The paper suggests a therapeutic device for hemiparesis that combines robot-assisted rehabilitation and mirror therapy. The robot, which consists of a motor, a position sensor, and a torque sensor, is provided not only to the paralyzed wrist, but also to the unaffected wrist to induce a symmetric movement between the joints. As a user rotates his healthy wrist to the direction of either flexion or extension, the motor on the damaged side rotates and reflects the motion of the normal side to the symmetric angular position. To verify performance of the device, five stroke patients joined a clinical experiment to practice a 10-minute mirroring exercise. Subjects on Brunnstrom stage 3 had shown relatively high repulsive torques due to severe spasticity toward their neutral wrist positions with a maximum magnitude of 0.300kgfm, which was reduced to 0.161kgfm after the exercise. Subjects on stage 5 practiced active bilateral exercises using both wrists with a small repulsive torque of 0.052kgfm only at the extreme extensional angle. The range of motion of affected wrist increased as a result of decrease in spasticity. The therapeutic device not only guided a voluntary exercise to loose spasticity and increase ROM of affected wrist, but also helped distinguish patients with different Brunnstrom stages according to the size of repulsive torque and phase difference between the torque and the wrist position.
Source: Robot-assisted mirroring exercise as a physical therapy for hemiparesis rehabilitation – IEEE Conference Publication
Lower extremity function recovery is one of the most important goals in stroke rehabilitation. Many paradigms and technologies have been introduced for the lower limb rehabilitation over the past decades, but their outcomes indicate a need to develop a complementary approach. One attempt to accomplish a better functional recovery is to combine bottom-up and top-down approaches by means of brain-computer interfaces (BCIs). In this study, a BCI-controlled robotic mirror therapy system is proposed for lower limb recovery following stroke. An experimental paradigm including four states is introduced to combine robotic training (bottom-up) and mirror therapy (top-down) approaches. A BCI system is presented to classify the electroencephalography (EEG) evidence. In addition, a probabilistic model is presented to assist patients in transition across the experiment states based on their intent. To demonstrate the feasibility of the system, both offline and online analyses are performed for five healthy subjects. The experiment results show a promising performance for the system, with average accuracy of 94% in offline and 75% in online sessions.
Source: EEG-guided robotic mirror therapy system for lower limb rehabilitation – IEEE Conference Publication
Despite an emerging evidence base and rapid increases in the development of clinically accessible virtual reality (VR) technologies for rehabilitation, clinical adoption remains low. This paper uses the Theoretical Domains Framework to structure an overview of the known barriers and facilitators to clinical uptake of VR and discusses knowledge translation strategies that have been identified or used to target these factors to facilitate adoption. Based on this discussion, we issue a ‘call to action’ to address identified gaps by providing actionable recommendations for development, research and clinical implementation.
Source: Enhancing clinical implementation of virtual reality – IEEE Xplore Document