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.
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 . 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 – 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
Fine motor control is achieved through the co-ordinated activation of groups of muscles, or ‘muscle synergies’. Muscle synergies change after stroke as a consequence of the motor deficit. We investigated the pattern and longitudinal changes in upper-limb muscle synergies during therapy in a largely unconstrained movement in patients with a broad spectrum of post-stroke residual voluntary motor capacity.Electromyography (EMG) was recorded using wireless telemetry from 6 muscles acting on the more-affected upper body in 24 stroke patients at early- and late-therapy during formal Wii-based Movement Therapy sessions, and in a subset of 13 patients at 6-month follow-up. Patients were classified with low, moderate or high motor-function. The Wii-baseball swing was analysed using a non-negative matrix factorisation (NMF) algorithm to extract muscle synergies from EMG recordings based on the temporal activation of each synergy and the contribution of each muscle to a synergy. Motor-function was clinically assessed immediately pre- and post-therapy and at 6-month follow-up using the Wolf Motor Function Test, upper-limb motor Fugl-Meyer Assessment and Motor Activity Log Quality of Movement scale.Clinical assessments and game performance demonstrated improved motor-function for all patients at post-therapy (p0.05). NMF analysis revealed fewer muscle synergies (mean±SE) for patients with low motor-function (3.38±0.2) than those with high motor-function (4.00±0.3) at early-therapy (p=0…
Source: A Longitudinal EMG Study of Complex Upper-limb Movements in Post-stroke Therapy: 2 Changes in Co-ordinated Muscle Activation