Posts Tagged Neuroplasticity

[WEB SITE] Virtual Reality is Finding a Home in Physical Therapy

Credit to: Neuro Rehab VR

Virtual reality has plenty of applications for fitness — you’re here, so you already know that. However, it is increasingly becoming a tool for rehabilitation, as well. Neuro Rehab VR aims to make physical therapy more enjoyable, and it promises to help patients more than traditional physical therapy.

Making physical therapy fun

With only about one-third of patients fully adhering to their rehabilitation plans, Neuro Rehab VR’s goal was to create a platform that was more engaging without making things more cumbersome. During the early days of the Oculus Rift, with its many sensors, that was not possible.

This was made possible with the Oculus Quest, which eliminated the need for extra equipment or wires. Neuro Rehab VR provides several different exercise applications that run patients through less-abstract goals, such as going grocery shopping. The applications are available for the entire body, and also include sports and combat.

In addition to being more interesting, VR physical therapy can have more effective results. Because of  the brain’s neuroplasticity, Neuro Rehab VR says playing games can establish better connections in the brain as you work toward concrete goals. This can, in turn, lead to more complete recovery. Neuro Rehab VR is partnered with Fort Worth’s Neurological Recovery Center. It has dealt with patients of spinal injuries, brain injuries, strokes, and multiple sclerosis. The team decided to expand and make its systems available elsewhere after seeing its success.

Neuro Rehab VR believes its systems can work not only in hospitals, but also for in-home recovery. The low cost of the Quest itself makes it affordable for rental or purchase by the patient. Therapists can see every movement patients make to determine if they are doing exercises correctly. Once the patient is feeling better, they’ll still have a device capable of helping them stay fit from within their home.

via Virtual Reality is Finding a Home in Physical Therapy

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[VIDEO] What’s, Why’s and How’s of the Vagus Nerve Stimulator

Dr Nemechek Discusses the Vagus Nerve Stimulator, how it’s used and what it can do for a patient.

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[Abstract] Cognitive Training in Young Patients With Traumatic Brain Injury: A Fixel-Based Analysis

Background. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is associated with altered white matter organization and impaired cognitive functioning.

Objective. We aimed to investigate changes in white matter and cognitive functioning following computerized cognitive training.

Methods. Sixteen adolescents with moderate-to-severe TBI (age 15.6 ± 1.8 years, 1.2-4.6 years postinjury) completed the 8-week BrainGames program and diffusion weighted imaging (DWI) and cognitive assessment at time point 1 (before training) and time point 2 (after training). Sixteen healthy controls (HC) (age 15.6 ± 1.8 years) completed DWI assessment at time point 1 and cognitive assessment at time point 1 and 2. Fixel-based analyses were used to examine fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), and fiber cross-section (FC) on a whole brain level and in tracts of interest.

Results. Patients with TBI showed cognitive impairments and extensive areas with decreased FA and increased MD together with an increase in FC in the body of the corpus callosum and left superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF) at time point 1. Patients improved significantly on the inhibition measure at time point 2, whereas the HC group remained unchanged. No training-induced changes were observed on the group level in diffusion metrics. Exploratory correlations were found between improvements on verbal working memory and reduced MD of the left SLF and between increased performance on an information processing speed task and increased FA of the right precentral gyrus.

Conclusions. Results are indicative of positive effects of BrainGames on cognitive functioning and provide preliminary evidence for neuroplasticity associated with cognitive improvements following cognitive intervention in TBI.

via Cognitive Training in Young Patients With Traumatic Brain Injury: A Fixel-Based Analysis – Helena Verhelst, Diana Giraldo, Catharine Vander Linden, Guy Vingerhoets, Ben Jeurissen, Karen Caeyenberghs,

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[Abstract] Optimizing brain performance: Identifying mechanisms of adaptive neurobiological plasticity

Highlights

  • Neural processes interact with dynamic environments to generate adaptive functions.
  • Neural plasticity is differentially influenced by individual and context specific variables.
  • Targeted training enhances adaptive neuroplasticity across the lifespan.

Abstract

Although neuroscience research has debunked the late 19th century claims suggesting that large portions of the brain are typically unused, recent evidence indicates that an enhanced understanding of neural plasticity may lead to greater insights related to the functional capacity of brains. Continuous and real-time neural modifications in concert with dynamic environmental contexts provide opportunities for targeted interventions for maintaining healthy brain functions throughout the lifespan. Neural design, however, is far from simplistic, requiring close consideration of context-specific and other relevant variables from both species and individual perspectives to determine the functional gains from increased and decreased markers of neuroplasticity. Caution must be taken in the interpretation of any measurable change in neurobiological responses or behavioral outcomes, as definitions of optimal functions are extremely complex. Even so, current behavioral neuroscience approaches offer unique opportunities to evaluate adaptive functions of various neural responses in an attempt to enhance the functional capacity of neural systems.

via Optimizing brain performance: Identifying mechanisms of adaptive neurobiological plasticity – ScienceDirect

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[Abstract] Forced, Not Voluntary, Aerobic Exercise Enhances Motor Recovery in Persons With Chronic Stroke

Background. The recovery of motor function following stroke is largely dependent on motor learning–related neuroplasticity. It has been hypothesized that intensive aerobic exercise (AE) training as an antecedent to motor task practice may prime the central nervous system to optimize motor recovery poststroke.

Objective. The objective of this study was to determine the differential effects of forced or voluntary AE combined with upper-extremity repetitive task practice (RTP) on the recovery of motor function in adults with stroke.

Methods. A combined analysis of 2 preliminary randomized clinical trials was conducted in which participants (n = 40) were randomized into 1 of 3 groups: (1) forced exercise and RTP (FE+RTP), (2) voluntary exercise and RTP (VE+RTP), or (3) time-matched stroke-related education and RTP (Edu+RTP). Participants completed 24 training sessions over 8 weeks.

Results. A significant interaction effect was found indicating that improvements in the Fugl-Meyer Assessment (FMA) were greatest for the FE+RTP group (P = .001). All 3 groups improved significantly on the FMA by a mean of 11, 6, and 9 points for the FE+RTP, VE+RTP, and Edu+RTP groups, respectively. No evidence of a treatment-by-time interaction was observed for Wolf Motor Function Test outcomes; however, those in the FE+RTP group did exhibit significant improvement on the total, gross motor, and fine-motor performance times (P ≤ .01 for all observations).

Conclusions. Results indicate that FE administered prior to RTP enhanced motor skill acquisition greater than VE or stroke-related education. AE, FE in particular, should be considered as an effective antecedent to enhance motor recovery poststroke.

via Forced, Not Voluntary, Aerobic Exercise Enhances Motor Recovery in Persons With Chronic Stroke – Susan M. Linder, Anson B. Rosenfeldt, Sara Davidson, Nicole Zimmerman, Amanda Penko, John Lee, Cynthia Clark, Jay L. Alberts, 2019

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[Abstract] Optimizing brain performance: Identifying mechanisms of adaptive neurobiological plasticity

Abstract

Although neuroscience research has debunked the late 19th century claims suggesting that large portions of the brain are typically unused, recent evidence indicates that an enhanced understanding of neural plasticity may lead to greater insights related to the functional capacity of brains. Continuous and real-time neural modifications in concert with dynamic environmental contexts provide opportunities for targeted interventions for maintaining healthy brain functions throughout the lifespan. Neural design, however, is far from simplistic, requiring close consideration of context-specific and other relevant variables from both species and individual perspectives to determine the functional gains from increased and decreased markers of neuroplasticity. Caution must be taken in the interpretation of any measurable change in neurobiological responses or behavioral outcomes, as definitions of optimal functions are extremely complex. Even so, current behavioral neuroscience approaches offer unique opportunities to evaluate adaptive functions of various neural responses in an attempt to enhance the functional capacity of neural systems.

via Optimizing brain performance: Identifying mechanisms of adaptive neurobiological plasticity – ScienceDirect

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[Abstract] Forced, Not Voluntary, Aerobic Exercise Enhances Motor Recovery in Persons With Chronic Stroke

Background. The recovery of motor function following stroke is largely dependent on motor learning–related neuroplasticity. It has been hypothesized that intensive aerobic exercise (AE) training as an antecedent to motor task practice may prime the central nervous system to optimize motor recovery poststroke.

Objective. The objective of this study was to determine the differential effects of forced or voluntary AE combined with upper-extremity repetitive task practice (RTP) on the recovery of motor function in adults with stroke.

Methods. A combined analysis of 2 preliminary randomized clinical trials was conducted in which participants (n = 40) were randomized into 1 of 3 groups: (1) forced exercise and RTP (FE+RTP), (2) voluntary exercise and RTP (VE+RTP), or (3) time-matched stroke-related education and RTP (Edu+RTP). Participants completed 24 training sessions over 8 weeks.

Results. A significant interaction effect was found indicating that improvements in the Fugl-Meyer Assessment (FMA) were greatest for the FE+RTP group (P = .001). All 3 groups improved significantly on the FMA by a mean of 11, 6, and 9 points for the FE+RTP, VE+RTP, and Edu+RTP groups, respectively. No evidence of a treatment-by-time interaction was observed for Wolf Motor Function Test outcomes; however, those in the FE+RTP group did exhibit significant improvement on the total, gross motor, and fine-motor performance times (P ≤ .01 for all observations).

Conclusions. Results indicate that FE administered prior to RTP enhanced motor skill acquisition greater than VE or stroke-related education. AE, FE in particular, should be considered as an effective antecedent to enhance motor recovery poststroke.

via Forced, Not Voluntary, Aerobic Exercise Enhances Motor Recovery in Persons With Chronic Stroke – Susan M. Linder, Anson B. Rosenfeldt, Sara Davidson, Nicole Zimmerman, Amanda Penko, John Lee, Cynthia Clark, Jay L. Alberts,

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[Abstract] Pharmacological interventions and rehabilitation approach for enhancing brain self-repair and stroke recovery

Abstract

Neuroplasticity is a natural process occurring in the brain for entire life. Stroke is the leading cause of long term disability and huge medical and financial problem throughout the world. Research conducted over the past decade focused mainly on neuroprotection in the acute phase of stroke while very little studies targets chronic stage. Recovery after stroke depends on the ability of our brain to reestablish structural and functional organization of neurovascular networks. Combining adjuvant therapies and drugs may enhance the repair processes and restore impaired brain functions. Currently, there are some drugs and rehabilitative strategies that can facilitate brain repair and improve clinical effect even years after stroke onset. Moreover, some of compounds such as citicoline, fluoxetine, niacin, levodopa etc. are already in clinical use or are being trial in clinical issues. Many studies testing also cell therapies, in our review we will focused on studies where cells have been implemented at the early stage of stroke. Next, we discuss pharmaceutical interventions. In this section selected methods of cognitive, behavioral and physical rehabilitation as well as adjuvant interventions for neuroprotection including non invasive brain stimulation and extremely low frequency electromagnetic field. The modern rehabilitation represents new model of physical interventions with limited therapeutic window up to six months after stroke. However, last studies suggest, that time window for stroke recovery is much longer than previous thought. This review attempts to present the progress in neuroprotective strategies, both pharmacological and non-pharmacological that can stimulate the endogenous neuroplasticity in post stroke patients.

 

via Pharmacological interventions and rehabilitation approach for enhancing brain self-repair and stroke recovery | Bentham Science

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[ARTICLE] Increased Sensorimotor Cortex Activation With Decreased Motor Performance During Functional Upper Extremity Tasks Poststroke – Full Text

Abstract

Background and Purpose: Current literature has focused on identifying neuroplastic changes associated with stroke through tasks and in positions that are not representative of functional rehabilitation. Emerging technologies such as functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) provide new methods of expanding the area of neuroplasticity within rehabilitation. This study determined the differences in sensorimotor cortex activation during unrestrained reaching and gripping after stroke.

Methods: Eleven individuals with chronic stroke and 11 neurologically healthy individuals completed reaching and gripping tasks under 3 conditions using their (1) stronger, (2) weaker, and (3) both arms together. Performance and sensorimotor cortex activation using fNIRS were collected. Group and arm differences were calculated using mixed analysis of covariance (covariate: age). Pairwise comparisons were used for post hoc analyses. Partial Pearson correlations between performance and activation were assessed for each task, group, and hemisphere.

Results: Larger sensorimotor activations in the ipsilesional hemisphere were found for the stroke compared with healthy group for reaching and gripping conditions despite poorer performance. Significant correlations were observed between gripping performance (with the weaker arm and both arms simultaneously) and sensorimotor activation for the stroke group only.

Discussion and Conclusions: Stroke leads to significantly larger sensorimotor activation during functional reaching and gripping despite poorer performance. This may indicate an increased sense of effort, decreased efficiency, or increased difficulty after stroke. fNIRS can be used for assessing differences in brain activation during movements in functional positions after stroke. This can be a promising tool for investigating possible neuroplastic changes associated with functional rehabilitation interventions in the stroke population.

Video Abstract available for more insights from the authors (see Video Abstract, Supplemental Digital Content 1, available at: http://links.lww.com/JNPT/A269).

 

INTRODUCTION

Stroke is the leading cause of long-term disability in Canada, with approximately 405 000 Canadians currently living with its long-lasting effects.1 While the site of injury and the specific presentation of symptoms are heterogeneous, up to 70% of these individuals experience upper extremity hemiparesis,2 and even after rehabilitation, greater than 65% of this population have difficulty utilizing their affected limb in activities of daily living.3 Decreased use of the paretic arm can lead to chronic pain and weakness, decreased bone density,4 cerebral cortex changes,5and an overall decrease in quality of life.6 In addition, stroke rehabilitation and continual care are costly for the health care system.7 Therefore, it is important to maximize patient recovery in an effective and efficient manner.

One area that has been highly debated for rehabilitation efficacy is the side of arm training. Numerous reviews have stated conflicting and inconclusive results pertaining to benefits of the paretic (affected) arm or bilateral arm training8–10 and a few studies have recently investigated the effects of the nonparetic (less-affected) arm training.11,12 Investigating how stroke itself affects neural activation during unilateral and bilateral upper extremity activities may help explain the mechanisms underlying such training.

In individuals living with the chronic effects of stroke, nonnormal brain activation is commonly seen with irregular activation in both the ipsi- and contralesional hemispheres during movement. A meta-analysis of 20 studies13 calculated increases in contralesional primary motor cortex, and bilateral premotor and supplementary motor areas with use of the paretic hand compared with healthy individuals. Systematically reviewing 22 functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and positron emission tomography studies, Buma et al14 reported general initial increases in contra-, ipsi-, and perilesional activation during paretic upper extremity movement in individuals with cortical and subcortical strokes when compared with healthy adults. In addition, as paretic arm performance increased with training, these authors also showed that in many, but not all participants, activation decreased in areas such as the contralesional motor cortex (ie, ipsilateral to the movement arm), which is not typically activated in healthy individuals. Previous reviews have also reported increases in cortical activation of motor supporting areas (bilateral premotor and supplementary motor areas) later in recovery that are associated with greater function,15 although the opposite has also been reported.16

The majority of previously mentioned evidence utilized neuroimaging techniques that require an individual to remain fairly still, especially at the head, and recorded in the supine position. While there are many advantages to these techniques, such as high spatial resolution and penetration depth using fMRI, the functional imaging data acquired from these studies may not be truly indicative of the neural correlates involved during rehabilitation tasks. Thus, assessment of brain activation during upright, unrestrained, functional tasks is needed. Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) is an emerging neuroimaging device that has the capabilities of determining cortical activation while the participant is mobile. Similar to fMRI, fNIRS is an indirect measure of cortical activation that utilizes the neurovascular coupling theory to estimate changes in brain activity.17 Near-infrared light emitted by this device is absorbed by areas high in oxyhemoglobin or deoxyhemoglobin content and is measured through detectors placed on the individual’s head. When an increase in brain activity occurs, a typical overall increase in oxyhemoglobin concentration and a slight decrease in deoxyhemoglobin are observed.17 Due to its portability, fNIRS has been used to investigate cortical activation during various mobile tasks after stroke.18,19 To our knowledge, no work has been done to compare sensorimotor cortex activation of paretic, nonparetic, and bilateral arm movements poststroke using fNIRS.

Therefore, the primary purpose of this study was to investigate differences in cortical brain activation during performance of upper extremity activities in an upright position after stroke and in neurologically healthy individuals. Based on the current evidence, we hypothesized that greater sensorimotor cortex activation would be observed in the stroke group compared with the neurologically healthy group, particularly when using the weaker arm. For our secondary measures, we hypothesize that (1) individuals in the stroke group will perform worse than the control group when using their weaker arm and (2) cortical activation in the contralateral hemisphere (eg, ipsilesional hemisphere during paretic arm movements) will positively correlate with task performance.[…]

Continue —->  Increased Sensorimotor Cortex Activation With Decreased Moto… : Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy

Figure 1
(A) Schematic of the environmental setup for the reaching task. Two adjacent Box and Block sets were placed in front of the participant. The left box was for the left hand and the right box was for the right hand. Arrows indicate the movement of the blocks from the box closest to the participant to the box further in front of the participant. (B) Schematic of the optode placements with reference to the international 10/10 system. Source probes are indicated by black circles and detector probes are indicated by gray circles.
Source
Increased Sensorimotor Cortex Activation With Decreased Motor Performance During Functional Upper Extremity Tasks Poststroke
Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy43(3):141-150, July 2019.

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[NEWS] Robotic Rehab Aims for the Home Market in Q3

Published on 

MotusNova

Motus Nova is expanding its list of partner hospitals and clinics using its FDA-approved robotic stroke therapy system. It also plans to introduce its system to the consumer market for home use in Q3 2019.

Twenty-five hospitals in the Atlanta area within Emory Healthcare, the Grady Health System, and the Wellstar Health System are now using the Motus Nova rehabilitation therapy system, which is designed to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to accelerate recovery from neurological injuries such as strokes.

The system features a Hand Mentor and Foot Mentor, which are sleeve-like robots that fit over a stroke survivor’s impaired hand or foot. Equipped with an active-assist air muscle and a suite of sensors and accelerometers, they provide clinically appropriate assistance and resistance while individual’s perform the needed therapeutic exercises.

A touchscreen console provides goal-directed biofeedback through interactive games—which Motus Nova calls “theratainment”—that make the tedious process of neuro rehab engaging and fun.

“It’s a system that has proven to be a valuable partner to stroke therapy professionals, where it complements skilled clinical care by augmenting the repetitive rehabilitation requirements of stroke recovery and freeing the clinician to do more nuanced care and assessment,” says Nick Housley, director of clinical research for Atlanta-based Motus Nova, in a media release.

“And while we continue to fill orders for the system to support therapy in the clinic and hospital, we also are looking to use our system to fill the gap patients often experience in receiving the needed therapy once they go home.”

Clinical studies show that neuroplasticity begins after approximately many 10’s to 100’s of hours of active guided rehab. The healing process can take months or years, and sometimes the individuals might never fully recover. Yet the typical regimen for stroke survivors is only two to three hours of outpatient therapy per week for a period of three to four months.

“These constraints were instituted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in determining Medicare reimbursement without a full understanding of the appropriate dosing required for stroke recovery, and many private insurers have adopted the policy, as well,” states David Wu, Motus Nova’s CEO.

Motus Nova plans to offer a more practical model, the release continues.

“By making the system available for home use at a reasonable weekly rate as long as the patient needs it, the individual can perform therapy anytime,” Wu adds. “A higher dosage of therapy can be achieved without the inconvenience of scheduling appointments with therapists or traveling to and from a clinic, and without the high cost of going to an outpatient center every time the individual wants to do therapy.”

While the system gathers data about individual performance, AI tailors the regimen to maximize user gains, discover new approaches, minimize side effects and help the stroke survivor realize his or her full potential more quickly.

“By optimizing factors such as frequency, intensity, difficulty, encouragement, and motivation, the AI system builds a personalized medicine plan uniquely tailored to each individual user of the system,” Housley comments.

“Our system is durable, too, proven in clinical trials to deliver an engaging physical therapy experience over thousands of repetitions. We look forward to making it available on a much wider scale in the coming months.”

[Source(s): Motus Nova, PR Newswire]

 

via Robotic Rehab Aims for the Home Market in Q3 – Rehab Managment

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