Posts Tagged Neurorehabilitation

[ARTICLE] Intensive upper limb neurorehabilitation in chronic stroke: outcomes from the Queen Square programme – Full Text

Abstract

Objective Persistent difficulty in using the upper limb remains a major contributor to physical disability post-stroke. There is a nihilistic view about what clinically relevant changes are possible after the early post-stroke phase. The Queen Square Upper Limb Neurorehabilitation programme delivers high-quality, high-dose, high-intensity upper limb neurorehabilitation during a 3-week (90 hours) programme. Here, we report clinical changes made by the chronic stroke patients treated on the programme, factors that might predict responsiveness to therapy and the relationship between changes in impairment and activity.

Methods Upper limb impairment and activity were assessed on admission, discharge, 6 weeks and 6 months after treatment, with modified upper limb Fugl-Meyer (FM-UL, max-54), Action Research Arm Test (ARAT, max-57) and Chedoke Arm and Hand Activity Inventory (CAHAI, max-91). Patient-reported outcome measures were recorded with the Arm Activity Measure (ArmA) parts A (0–32) and B (0–52), where lower scores are better.

Results 224 patients (median time post-stroke 18 months) completed the 6-month programme. Median scores on admission were as follows: FM-UL = 26 (IQR 16–37), ARAT=18 (IQR 7–33), CAHAI=40 (28-55), ArmA-A=8 (IQR 4.5–12) and ArmA-B=38 (IQR 24–46). The median scores 6 months after the programme were as follows: FM-UL=37 (IQR 24–48), ARAT=27 (IQR 12–45), CAHAI=52 (IQR 35–77), ArmA-A=3 (IQR 1–6.5) and ArmA-B=19 (IQR 8.5–32). We found no predictors of treatment response beyond admission scores.

Conclusion With intensive upper limb rehabilitation, chronic stroke patients can change by clinically important differences in measures of impairment and activity. Crucially, clinical gains continued during the 6-month follow-up period.

Introduction

Stroke remains common1 and persistent difficulty in using the upper limb is a major contributor to ongoing physical disability.2 The general consensus remains that most spontaneous recovery of the upper limb occurs over the first 3 months after stroke and current levels of rehabilitation result in little improvement after that, particularly at the level of impairment.3 Improving outcomes through higher dose (time in rehabilitation or number of repetitions) and intensity (dose per session) of rehabilitation is an attractive option.4 However, clinical trials of higher dose upper limb rehabilitation have generally not produced the magnitude of improvement that will change clinical practice,5 whether delivered in the early6 or chronic stages post-stroke.7–9 A common factor in these trials is that the dose (in hours) of additional therapy remained relatively low (18–36 hours). Despite scepticism that stroke patients could tolerate much higher doses,8 one study managed to deliver 300 hours of upper limb therapy to chronic stroke patients over 12 weeks and reported changes in measures of both impairment and activity that were far greater than those in lower dose studies.10 Three hundred hours represents an order of magnitude higher than any dose of rehabilitation offered in previous upper limb rehabilitation trials and deserves further consideration. However, this idea is challenging because of the logistics of setting up such a trial in healthcare settings where the ethic of high-dose, high-intensity rehabilitation is not supported. In this context, it is important to report the findings of clinical services that are able to deliver higher doses than conventionally seen. The Queen Square Upper Limb (QSUL) Neurorehabilitation programme is a single-centre clinical service that provides 90 hours of timetabled treatment focusing on the post-stroke upper limb in chronic (>6 months post-stroke) stroke patients. Here, we report (i) outcomes for patients admitted to this programme at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, University College London Hospitals NHS Trust (UCLH), including 6-month follow-up data to look at whether any clinical benefits were maintained, (ii) the characteristics of the patients admitted and any predictors of response and (iii) the relationship between changes in impairment and activity.[…]

Continue —> https://jnnp.bmj.com/content/90/5/498

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[REVIEW ARTICLE] Robot-Assisted Therapy in Upper Extremity Hemiparesis: Overview of an Evidence-Based Approach – Full Text

Robot-mediated therapy is an innovative form of rehabilitation that enables highly repetitive, intensive, adaptive, and quantifiable physical training. It has been increasingly used to restore loss of motor function, mainly in stroke survivors suffering from an upper limb paresis. Multiple studies collated in a growing number of review articles showed the positive effects on motor impairment, less clearly on functional limitations. After describing the current status of robotic therapy after upper limb paresis due to stroke, this overview addresses basic principles related to robotic therapy applied to upper limb paresis. We demonstrate how this innovation is an evidence-based approach in that it meets both the improved clinical and more fundamental knowledge-base about regaining effective motor function after stroke and the need of more objective, flexible and controlled therapeutic paradigms.

Introduction

Robot-mediated rehabilitation is an innovative exercise-based therapy using robotic devices that enable the implementation of highly repetitive, intensive, adaptive, and quantifiable physical training. Since the first clinical studies with the MIT-Manus robot (1), robotic applications have been increasingly used to restore loss of motor function, mainly in stroke survivors suffering from an upper limb paresis but also in cerebral palsy (2), multiple sclerosis (3), spinal cord injury (4), and other disease types. Thus, multiple studies suggested that robot-assisted training, integrated into a multidisciplinary program, resulted in an additional reduction of motor impairments in comparison to usual care alone in different stages of stroke recovery: namely, acute (57), subacute (18), and chronic phases after the stroke onset (911). Typically, patients engaged in the robotic therapy showed an impairment reduction of 5 points or more in the Fugl-Meyer assessment as compared to usual care. Of notice, rehabilitation studies conducted during the chronic stroke phase suggest that a 5-point differential represents the minimum clinically important difference (MCID), i.e., the magnitude of change that is necessary to produce real-world benefits for patients (12). These results were collated in multiple review articles and meta-analyses (1317). In contrast, the advantage of robotic training over usual care in terms of functional benefit is less clear, but there are recent results that suggest how best to organize training to achieve superior results in terms of both impairment and function (18). Indeed, the use of the robotic tool has allowed us the parse and study the ingredients that should form an efficacious and efficient rehabilitation program. The aim of this paper is to provide a general overview of the current state of robotic training in upper limb rehabilitation after stroke, to analyze the rationale behind its use, and to discuss our working model on how to more effectively employ robotics to promote motor recovery after stroke.

Upper Extremity Robotic Therapy: Current Status

Robotic systems used in the field of neurorehabilitation can be organized under two basic categories: exoskeleton and end-effector type robots. Exoskeleton robotic systems allow us to accurately determine the kinematic configuration of human joints, while end-effector type robots exert forces only in the most distal part of the affected limb. A growing number of commercial robotic devices have been developed employing either configuration. Examples of exoskeleton type include the Armeo®Spring, Armeo®Power, and Myomo® and of end-effector type include the InMotion™, Burt®, Kinarm™ and REAplan®. Both categories enable the implementation of intensive training and there are many other devices in different stages of development or commercialization (1920).

The last decade has seen an exponential growth in both the number of devices as well as clinical trials. The results coalesced in a set of systematic reviews, meta-analyses (1317) and guidelines such as those published by the American Heart Association and the Veterans Administration (AHA and VA) (21). There is a clear consensus that upper limb therapy using robotic devices over 30–60-min sessions, is safe despite the larger number of movement repetitions (14).

This technic is feasible and showed a high rate of eligibility; in the VA ROBOTICS (911) study, nearly two thirds of interviewed stroke survivors were enrolled in the study. As a comparison the EXCITE cohort of constraint-induced movement therapy enrolled only 6% of the screened patients participated (22). On that issue, it is relevant to notice the admission criteria of both chronic stroke studies. ROBOTICS enrolled subjects with Fugl-Meyer assessment (FMA) of 38 or lower (out of 66) while EXCITE typically enrolled subjects with an FMA of 42 or higher. Duret and colleagues demonstrated that the target population, based on motor impairments, seems to be broader in the robotic intervention which includes patients with severe motor impairments, a group that typically has not seen much benefit from usual care (23). Indeed, Duret found that more severely impaired patients benefited more from robot-assisted training and that co-factors such as age, aphasia, and neglect had no impact on the amount of repetitive movements performed and were not contraindicated. Furthermore, all patients enrolled in robotic training were satisfied with the intervention. This result is consistent with the literature (24).

The main outcome result is that robotic therapy led to significantly more improvement in impairment as compared to conventional usual care, but only slightly more on motor function of the limb segments targeted by the robotic device (16). For example, Bertani et al. (15) and Zhang et al. (17) found that robotic training was more effective in reducing motor impairment than conventional usual care therapy in patients with chronic stroke, and further meta-analyses suggested that using robotic therapy as an adjunct to conventional usual care treatment is more effective than robotic training alone (1317). Other examples of disproven beliefs: many rehabilitation professionals mistakenly expected significant increase of muscle hyperactivity and shoulder pain due to the intensive training. Most studies showed just the opposite, i.e., that intensive robotic training was associated with tone reduction as compared to the usual care groups (92526). These results are shattering the resistance to the widespread adoption of robotic therapy as a therapeutic modality post-stroke.

That said, not all is rosy. Superior changes in functional outcomes were more controversial until the very last years as most studies and reviews concluded that robotic therapy did not improve activities of daily living beyond traditional care. One first step was reached in 2015 with Mehrholz et al. (14), who found that robotic therapy can provide more functional benefits when compared to other interventions however with a quality of evidence low to very low. 2018 may have seen a decisive step in favor of robotic as the latest meta-analysis conducted by Mehrholz et al. (27) concluded that robot-assisted arm training may improve activities of daily living in the acute phase after stroke with a high quality of evidence However, the results must be interpreted with caution because of the high variability in trial designs as evidenced by the multicenter study (28) in which robotic rehabilitation using the Armeo®Spring, a non-motorized device, was compared to self-management with negative results on motor impairments and potential functional benefits in the robotic group.

The Robot Assisted Training for the Upper Limb after Stroke (RATULS) study (29) might clarify things and put everyone in agreement on the topic. Of notice, RATULS goes beyond the Veterans Administration ROBOTICS with chronic stroke or the French REM_AVC study with subacute stroke. RATULS included 770 stroke patients and covered all stroke phases, from acute to chronic, and it included a positive meaningful control in addition to usual care.[…]

 

Continue —->  Frontiers | Robot-Assisted Therapy in Upper Extremity Hemiparesis: Overview of an Evidence-Based Approach | Neurology

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[NEWS] Wearable robots usher in next generation of mobility therapies|CORDIS|European Commission

Wearable robots that can anticipate and react to users’ movement in real time could dramatically improve mobility assistance and rehabilitation tools.

© Shutterstock

Wearable robots are programmable body-worn devices, or exoskeletons, that are designed to mechanically interact with the user. Their purpose is to assist or even substitute human motor function for people who have severe difficulty moving or walking.

The BIOMOT project, completed in September 2016, has helped to advance this emerging field by demonstrating that personalised computational models of the human body can effectively be used to control wearable exoskeletons. The project has identified ways of achieving improved flexibility and autonomous performance, which could assist in the use of wearable robots as mobility assistance and rehabilitation tools.

‘An increasing number of researchers in the field of neurorehabilitation are interested in the potential of these robotic technologies for clinical rehabilitation following neurological diseases,’ explains BIOMOT project coordinator Dr. Juan Moreno from the Spanish Council for Scientific Research (CSIC). ‘One reason is that these systems can be optimised to deliver diverse therapeutic interventions at specific points of recuperation or care.’

However, a number of factors have limited the widespread market adoption of wearable robots. Moreno and his team identified a need for wearable equipment to be more compact and lightweight, and better able anticipate and detect the intended movements of the wearer. In addition, robots needed to become more versatile and adaptable in order to aid people in a variety of different situations; walking on uneven ground, for example, or approaching an obstacle.

In order to address these challenges, the project developed robots with real-time adaptability and flexibility by increasing the symbiosis between the robot and the user through dynamic sensorimotor interactions. A hierarchical approach to these interactions was taken, allowing the project team to apply different layers for different purposes. This means in effect that an exoskeleton can be personalised to an individual user.

‘Thanks to this framework, the BIOMOT exoskeleton can rely on mechanical and bioelectric measurements to adapt to a changing user or task condition,’ says Moreno. ‘This leads to improved robotic interventions.’

Following theoretical and practical work, the project team then tested these prototype exoskeletons with volunteers. A key technical challenge was how to combine a robust and open architecture with a novel wearable robotic system that can gather signals from human activity. ‘Nonetheless, we succeeded in investigating for the first time the potential of automatically controlling human-robot interactions in order to enhance user compliance to a motor task,’ says Moreno. ‘Our research with healthy humans showed such positive and promising results that we are keen to continue validation with both stroke and spinal cord injury patients.’

Indeed, Moreno is confident that the success of the project will open up potential new research avenues. For example, the results will help scientists to develop computational models for rehabilitation therapies, and better understand human movement in more detail.

‘In the project we also defined novel techniques to evaluate and benchmark performances of wearable exoskeletons,’ says Moreno. ‘Further innovation projects are planned by consortium members to follow up on this research, and to exploit developments in the field of human motion capture, human-machine interaction and adaptive control.’

For further information, please see:
project website

via Wearable robots usher in next generation of mobility therapies | News | CORDIS | European Commission

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[Abstract] The SonicHand Protocol for Rehabilitation of Hand Motor Function: a validation and feasibility study

Abstract

Musical sonification therapy is a new technique that can reinforce conventional rehabilitation treatments by increasing therapy intensity and engagement through challenging and motivating exercises. Aim of this study is to evaluate the feasibility and validity of the SonicHand protocol, a new training and assessment method for the rehabilitation of hand function. The study was conducted in 15 healthy individuals and 15 stroke patients. The feasibility of implementation of the training protocol was tested in stroke patients only, who practiced a series of exercises concurrently to music sequences produced by specific movements. The assessment protocol evaluated hand motor performance during pronation/supination, wrist horizontal flexion/extension and hand grasp without sonification. From hand position data, 15 quantitative parameters were computed evaluating mean velocity, movement smoothness and angular excursions of hand/fingers. We validated this assessment in terms of its ability to discriminate between patients and healthy subjects, test-retest reliability and concurrent validity with the upper limb section of the Fugl-Meyer scale (FM), the Functional Independence Measure (FIM) and the Box & Block Test (BBT). All patients showed good understanding of the assigned tasks and were able to correctly execute the proposed training protocol, confirming its feasibility. A moderate-to-excellent intraclass correlation coefficient was found in 8/15 computed parameters. Moderate-to-strong correlation was found between the measured parameters and the clinical scales. The SonicHand training protocol is feasible and the assessment protocol showed good to excellent between-group discrimination ability, reliability and concurrent validity, thus enabling the implementation of new personalized and motivating training programs employing sonification for the rehabilitation of hand function.

via The SonicHand Protocol for Rehabilitation of Hand Motor Function: a validation and feasibility study – IEEE Journals & Magazine

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[Abstract] Brain-Machine Interface in Chronic Stroke: Randomized Trial Long-Term Follow-up

Background. Brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) have been recently proposed as a new tool to induce functional recovery in stroke patients.

Objective. Here we evaluated long-term effects of BMI training and physiotherapy in motor function of severely paralyzed chronic stroke patients 6 months after intervention.

Methods. A total of 30 chronic stroke patients with severe hand paresis from our previous study were invited, and 28 underwent follow-up assessments. BMI training included voluntary desynchronization of ipsilesional EEG-sensorimotor rhythms triggering paretic upper-limb movements via robotic orthoses (experimental group, n = 16) or random orthoses movements (sham group, n = 12). Both groups received identical physiotherapy following BMI sessions and a home-based training program after intervention. Upper-limb motor assessment scores, electromyography (EMG), and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) were assessed before (Pre), immediately after (Post1), and 6 months after intervention (Post2).

Results. The experimental group presented with upper-limb Fugl-Meyer assessment (cFMA) scores significantly higher in Post2 (13.44 ± 1.96) as compared with the Pre session (11.16 ± 1.73; P = .015) and no significant changes between Post1 and Post2 sessions. The Sham group showed no significant changes on cFMA scores. Ashworth scores and EMG activity in both groups increased from Post1 to Post2. Moreover, fMRI-BOLD laterality index showed no significant difference from Pre or Post1 to Post2 sessions.

Conclusions. BMI-based rehabilitation promotes long-lasting improvements in motor function of chronic stroke patients with severe paresis and represents a promising strategy in severe stroke neurorehabilitation.

via Brain-Machine Interface in Chronic Stroke: Randomized Trial Long-Term Follow-up – Ander Ramos-Murguialday, Marco R. Curado, Doris Broetz, Özge Yilmaz, Fabricio L. Brasil, Giulia Liberati, Eliana Garcia-Cossio, Woosang Cho, Andrea Caria, Leonardo G. Cohen, Niels Birbaumer, 2019

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[WEB SITE] Neuromotor Behavior and Neurorehabilitation Engineering Lab

Welcome

Welcome to the home page of the Neuromotor Behavior and Neurorehabilitation Engineering Lab headed by Dr. Sergei Adamovich. The focus of the lab is to study neural control of movement in health and disease, and to design, develop and test novel systems and technology-based approaches to neurorehabilitation. The long-term objective is to translate the principles of neuroscience to evidence-based interventions that can be used by clinicians to rehabilitate patients with motor disorders.  We are located in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at New Jersey Institute of Technology and in the Department of Rehabilitation and Movement Science at Rutgers University.

Current Research

Using Robotics and Virtual Reality in Stroke Rehabilitation

Dr. Adamovich, in collaboration with Dr. Alma Merians (Rutgers University),  was one of the first to initiate the use of interactive virtual environments combined with instrumented gloves and hand exoskeletons for upper extremity rehabilitation, broadening the group of people that can utilize VR and gaming technology for motor rehabilitation and incorporating adaptive algorithms, activity scaling, haptic and visual effects to target specific skill re-acquisition. The group has developed a library of  simulations that incorporated these devices. They use various modes of haptic feedback and distortions of visual feedback in virtual reality to allow patients with severe paralysis and even lack of volitional movement to begin training very early after a stroke. Central to this, they aim to study the underlying neural mechanisms that can be engaged with this type of training, whether these circuits in stroke patients are also mediating training-induced recovery, and if circuits’ integrity can be used to predict the responsiveness to the gain / mirror therapy. This work is currently supported in part by the NIH grant R01HD58301.

Brain Imaging and Stimulation

Dr. Adamovich has many years of experience studying brain representations of motor actions, the neural mechanisms of online correction of movement errors arising from visual and proprioceptive channels, and how we learn to reduce such error through anticipatory control. In collaboration with Dr. Eugene Tunik (Northeastern University),  he has addressed these questions using a combination of various technologies (TMS, fMRI, EEG, VR, robotics) and patient-based experimentation in stroke, Parkinson’s, deafferented patients and healthy individuals. His findings highlight the critical interplay between central and peripheral mechanisms of motor control and identifies important interactions among various brain areas such as the parietal, premotor and primary motor cortices in incorporating feedback into online error correction and learning. This work is currently supported by the NIH grant R01 NS085122.

 

Center for Rehabilitation Robotics   Sergei Adamovich and Richard Foulds, co-directors

This center is currently (2017) comprised of 8 projects applying robotics and virtual reality to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities.  The largest of these is an NIH project (2017-2022, $3,571,000) using a unique combination of robotics and virtual reality for neurorehabilitation of people who have arm limitations resulting from a recent stroke.  Five smaller projects on wearable robots are supported by an NIDILRR center grant (2015-2020, $4,625,000) and address lower extremity exoskeletons to restore walking by individuals with stroke, epidural electrical stimulation to increase spinal cord transmission and improve the use of exoskeletons by people with spinal cord injury, and the study of new robotic technology for stroke therapy to be used in the home. Two development projects are designing new human-robot interfaces allowing users to control exoskeletons in a biologically natural way.  An NSF grant is developing a new lower extremity exoskeleton for advanced research.  And, a translation project supported by the Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy allows the Center to equip 30 young men with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy with NJIT-developed exoskeletons that will extend the use of their arms for up to 5 years.  The Kessler Foundation and Rutgers Department of Rehabilitation and Movement Science are major collaborators. As of November 2017, grants total $9,210,500.

Past Research

Cerebral Palsy

The major goal of this study was to demonstrate that robot-assisted VR therapy will improve clinical and biomechanical outcomes in children with cerebral palsy, that these improvements will be larger when compared to that of the conventional therapy, and that they will transfer to real world reach-to-grasp movements.  This work was supported by NIDRR grant H133EO50011, from 2005 to 2011.

 

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[Abstract] Brain-Machine Interface in Chronic Stroke: Randomized Trial Long-Term Follow-up

Background. Brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) have been recently proposed as a new tool to induce functional recovery in stroke patients.

Objective. Here we evaluated long-term effects of BMI training and physiotherapy in motor function of severely paralyzed chronic stroke patients 6 months after intervention.

Methods. A total of 30 chronic stroke patients with severe hand paresis from our previous study were invited, and 28 underwent follow-up assessments. BMI training included voluntary desynchronization of ipsilesional EEG-sensorimotor rhythms triggering paretic upper-limb movements via robotic orthoses (experimental group, n = 16) or random orthoses movements (sham group, n = 12). Both groups received identical physiotherapy following BMI sessions and a home-based training program after intervention. Upper-limb motor assessment scores, electromyography (EMG), and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) were assessed before (Pre), immediately after (Post1), and 6 months after intervention (Post2).

Results. The experimental group presented with upper-limb Fugl-Meyer assessment (cFMA) scores significantly higher in Post2 (13.44 ± 1.96) as compared with the Pre session (11.16 ± 1.73; P = .015) and no significant changes between Post1 and Post2 sessions. The Sham group showed no significant changes on cFMA scores. Ashworth scores and EMG activity in both groups increased from Post1 to Post2. Moreover, fMRI-BOLD laterality index showed no significant difference from Pre or Post1 to Post2 sessions.

Conclusions. BMI-based rehabilitation promotes long-lasting improvements in motor function of chronic stroke patients with severe paresis and represents a promising strategy in severe stroke neurorehabilitation.

 

via Brain-Machine Interface in Chronic Stroke: Randomized Trial Long-Term Follow-up – Ander Ramos-Murguialday, Marco R. Curado, Doris Broetz, Özge Yilmaz, Fabricio L. Brasil, Giulia Liberati, Eliana Garcia-Cossio, Woosang Cho, Andrea Caria, Leonardo G. Cohen, Niels Birbaumer, 2019

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[ARTICLE] Effect of a four-week virtual reality-based training versus conventional therapy on upper limb motor function after stroke: A multicenter parallel group randomized trial – Full Text

Abstract

Background

Virtual reality-based training has found increasing use in neurorehabilitation to improve upper limb training and facilitate motor recovery.

Objective

The aim of this study was to directly compare virtual reality-based training with conventional therapy.

Methods

In a multi-center, parallel-group randomized controlled trial, patients at least 6 months after stroke onset were allocated either to an experimental group (virtual reality-based training) or a control group receiving conventional therapy (16×45 minutes within 4 weeks). The virtual reality-based training system replicated patients´ upper limb movements in real-time to manipulate virtual objects.

Blinded assessors tested patients twice before, once during, and twice after the intervention up to 2-month follow-up for dexterity (primary outcome: Box and Block Test), bimanual upper limb function (Chedoke-McMaster Arm and Hand Activity Inventory), and subjective perceived changes (Stroke Impact Scale).

Results

54 eligible patients (70 screened) participated (15 females, mean age 61.3 years, range 20–81 years, time since stroke 3.0±SD 3 years). 22 patients were allocated to the experimental group and 32 to the control group (3 drop-outs). Patients in the experimental and control group improved: Box and Block Test mean 21.5±SD 16 baseline to mean 24.1±SD 17 follow-up; Chedoke-McMaster Arm and Hand Activity Inventory mean 66.0±SD 21 baseline to mean 70.2±SD 19 follow-up. An intention-to-treat analysis found no between-group differences.

Conclusions

Patients in the experimental and control group showed similar effects, with most improvements occurring in the first two weeks and persisting until the end of the two-month follow-up period. The study population had moderate to severely impaired motor function at entry (Box and Block Test mean 21.5±SD 16). Patients, who were less impaired (Box and Block Test range 18 to 72) showed higher improvements in favor of the experimental group. This result could suggest that virtual reality-based training might be more applicable for such patients than for more severely impaired patients.

Introduction

Virtual reality-based rehabilitation systems are gaining popularity because of their ease of use, applicability to wide range of patients, and ability to provide patient-personalized training []. Additional reported benefits of virtual reality systems for both patients and health providers include increased therapy efficiency and a high level of attention in patients during training [].

One of the main struggles therapists encounter is keeping patients motivated throughout conventional training sessions. The Yerkes-Dodson Law describes the relationship between arousal or motivation and performance []. At first, an increase in arousal and motivation leads to an increase in performance. But once a certain point is reached, this point can vary based on many factors including the task, the participant, and the context, the relationship becomes inverse and increases in arousal caused decreases in performance. In line with these ideas, previous research has shown that increased performance leads to greater improvement in patients after stroke up to a certain point. Virtual reality-based systems allow manipulation of arousal through training settings to ensure that peak performance is maintained for as large a portion of the therapy time as possible [].

Laver et al. systematically evaluated the literature regarding the efficacy of virtual reality-based training in stroke rehabilitation in 2011 and in its updates in 2015 and 2017 []. Their current meta-analysis of 22 trials including 1038 patients after stroke that focused on upper limb function did not reveal a statistically significant difference between VR-based training and conventional therapy (0.07 standard deviation higher in virtual reality-based compared to conventional therapy. Furthermore, the authors rated the quality of evidence as low, based on the GRADE system. However, for ADL function the experimental groups showed a 0.25 higher standard deviation than the conventional therapy groups based on ten studies, including 466 patients after a stroke with moderate quality of evidence.

Only 10% of the included studies included more than 50 participants, with mean ages between 46 to 76 years. However, due to the different systems used no conclusion could be drawn regarding grip strength, dosage, type or program of the virtual reality-based training. Furthermore, the authors pointed out the low sample sizes and the low methodological quality of the reported trials. In their recommendations for further research, the authors encouraged researchers and clinicians again to conduct larger trials and to increase the detail in reporting to enable more firm conclusions.

YouGrabber (now renamed Bi-Manu Trainer), a game-based virtual reality system designed for upper-limb rehabilitation, has been shown to be effective in children with cerebral palsy. A 2-subject feasibility study indicated that the findings might extend to chronic stroke patients []. Both male subjects, who were trained three years after insult onset, showed increases in scores for the bimanual activities of daily living focused Chedoke McMaster Arm and Hand Activity Inventory (CAHAI) that persisted at the final follow-up, and corresponding cortical changes measured with fMRI.

Based on these findings the present multicenter parallel group randomized single-blinded trial aimed to investigate the efficacy of a virtual reality-based training with the YouGrabber training device (now renamed Bi-Manu Trainer) compared to conventional therapy. The study was designed to test the hypothesis that patients in the chronic stage after stroke in the virtual reality-based training group will show no higher post-intervention performance in the Box and Block Test (BBT) compared to patients receiving an equal training time of physiotherapy or occupational therapy.

For comparison with published and ongoing international studies we selected the Box and Block Test as the primary outcome measure and the CAHAI as the secondary outcome measure.

Methods and materials

Study design

This prospective, multicenter, single-blinded, parallel-group randomized trial was conducted in the outpatient departments of three rehabilitation hospitals in the German and French speaking parts of Switzerland: University hospital Inselspital Bern, Buergerspital Solothurn, and Reha Rheinfelden. In the study plan, each hospital was responsible for the recruitment, assessment, and therapy of 20 patients: 10 patients for the experimental group (EG) and 10 for the control group (CG), respectively.

More details regarding the study methodology can be found in the study flow chart in Fig 1 and the previously published study protocol strictly followed by each center (http://trialsjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1745-6215-15-350) []. Ethics approval was warranted by the ethics committee of the Canton Aargau (2012/065) and the Canton Berne (220/12). The study was registered with ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT01774669 before the start of patient recruitment.

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Fig 1
Patient flow chart.BS = Buergerspital Solothurn, IS = Inselspital Bern, Reha Rheinfelden Measurement sessions: twice within one to two weeks before intervention start (BL, T0), once after eight (T1) and after 16 (T2) intervention sessions, and after a two months follow-up period (FU).

[…]

Continue —> Effect of a four-week virtual reality-based training versus conventional therapy on upper limb motor function after stroke: A multicenter parallel group randomized trial

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[WEB SITE] FDA Approves MindMotion GO, Mobile Neurorehabilitation Product

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted clearance to MindMotion GO, a portable neurorehabilitation product, for launch in the United States.

MindMotion GO utilizes technology that is designed to be used by patients with mild to lightly severe neurological impairments, as well as in the recovery phase of rehabilitation. Produced by the Swiss neurogaming company MindMaze, the mobile rehabilitation product is an outpatient addition to its MindMotion PRO, which received FDA approval in May 2017.

The PRO version differs from the recently approved MindMotion GO in that it is intended for use in patients with severe impairments as well as in early hospital care—in an inpatient setting—with therapeutic activities able to take place within 4 days after a neurological incident.

“Now that both MindMotion products have FDA clearance, MindMaze delivers a full spectrum of neuro-care solutions for both inpatient and outpatient recovery for patients in the United States,” said Tej Tadi, PhD, the CEO and founder of MindMaze, in a statement. “Our unique capability to safely and securely acquire data through our platform is essential for patient recovery and performance, and positions MindMaze as a powerhouse for the future of brain-machine interfaces. Beyond healthcare, this will enable powerful AI-based applications. We are working on a range of brain-tech initiatives at MindMaze to build the infrastructure for innovations to improve patients’ quality of life.”

The mobile MindMotion GO allows for real-time audio and visual feedback, aiding physicians in the assessment of progress and tailoring of therapy to their individual patient’s performance, according to MindMaze. Additionally, it enables the patients to see their progress as well. The set-up and calibration can be done in less than 5 minutes, so patients can begin rehabilitation sessions while physicians facilitate case management.

The program is equipped with a variety of gamified engaging activities which cover motor and task functions and includes a 3D virtual environment. As a result, early findings have suggested that both patient engagement and adherence to therapy have been amplified. Thus far, MindMotion GO has been trialed with upward of 300 patients across therapy centers in the UK, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland.

Neurological impairments are the main cause of long-term disability in the United States, with a recent study estimating direct and indirect costs associated with neurological diseases cost roughly $800 billion annually. For stroke alone, there are almost 800,000 cases each year, with direct annual costs estimated at $22.8 billion.

MindMaze’s Continuum of Care seeks to support earlier, and ongoing, intervention to enable by healthcare providers in the United States to have access to a cost-effective solution for improving neurorehabilitation results.

Even more resources pertaining to stroke prevention and care can be found on MD Magazine‘s new sister site, NeurologyLive.

via FDA Approves MindMotion GO, Mobile Neurorehabilitation Product | MD Magazine

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[Systematic Review] Effects of extracorporeal shock wave therapy on spasticity in post-stroke patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials – Full Text

Abstract

Objective: To evaluate whether extracorporeal shock wave therapy significantly improves spasticity in post-stroke patients.

Design: Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Data sources: PubMed, EMBASE, EBSCO, Web of Science, Cochrane CENTRAL electronic databases.

Study selection: Randomized controlled trials assessing the effect of extracorporeal shock wave therapy on post-stroke patients with spasticity were selected for inclusion.

Data extraction: Two authors independently screened the literature, extracted data, and assessed the quality of included studies. Primary outcome was modified Ashworth scale (MAS). Secondary outcomes were Modified Tardieu Scale (MTS), H/M ratio and range of motion.

Data synthesis: Eight randomized controlled trial studies (n = 385 patients) were included in the meta-analysis. There was a high level of evidence that extracorporeal shock wave therapy significantly ameliorates spasticity in post-stroke patients according to the 4 parameters: MAS (standard mean difference (SMD) −1.22; 95% confidence interval (95% CI): −1.77 to −0.66); MTS (SMD 0.70; 95% CI 0.42–0.99,); H/M ratio (weighted mean difference (WMD) –0.76; 95% CI –1.19 to –0.33); range of motion (SMD 0.69; 95% CI 0.06–1.32). However, there was no statically significant difference on the MAS at 4 weeks (SMD –1.73; 95% CI –3.99 to 0.54).

Conclusion: Extracorporeal shock wave therapy has a significant effect on spasticity in post-stroke patients.

 

Lay abstract

The effect of extracorporeal shock wave therapy on spasticity in post-stroke patients has been evaluated in several clinical trials. In addition, a recent meta-analysis suggests that such therapy is effective; however, the measurement of spasticity was based mainly on the modified Ashworth scale, which is insufficient, and a lack of  randomized controlled trials studies in the study design may have biased the results. Therefore, considering the potential limitations of the previous meta-analysis, the aim of the current study was to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials to evaluate the effectiveness of extracorporeal shock wave therapy on spasticity in post-stroke patients. Furthermore, subgroup analysis was performed to identify potential moderators or mediators.

 

Spasticity is a common complication of various neurological diseases, such as stroke, and is often defined as a velocity-dependent increase in muscle tone, with exaggerated tendon jerks, due to hyperexcitability of the stretch reflex (1). Stroke has a high morbidity and sequelae rate. Approximately 80% of stroke patients have motor dysfunction, and spasticity status is considered to be the main determinant of this (2). Approximately 20-–40% of stroke survivors will develop spasticity (3). Futhermore, only 15.6% of post-stroke patients have a clinically relevant degree of spasticity (MAS ≥ 3) (4), and the prevalence of disabling spasticity 1 year after first-ever stroke is 4% (5). Spasticity after stroke not only limits the subject’s limb movements, but also impacts on their ability in activities of daily living (ADL), and seriously reduces quality of life (QoL). Therefore, improving spasticity post-stroke would reduce the rate of disability.

Various therapeutic interventions can be used to reduce spasticity, including botulinum toxin (BTX) injections, pharmacological treatment, physical therapy (electrical stimulation, thermotherapy), occupational therapy, and chemical neurolysis (6–9). Extracorporeal shock waves have been reported to be a potential therapeutic intervention to improve spasticity (10, 11).

Extracorporeal shock waves are a group of mechanical pulse waves characterized by high peak pressure (100 MPa), fast pressurization speed (< 10 ns) and short cycle time (10 μs) (6). The treatments can be divided into focused extracorporeal shock waves (12) and radial extracorporeal shock waves (rESW) (13). rESW is a relatively new technique that was first applied in 1999. Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) has been shown to be a safe, effective, non-invasive treatment for spasticity in patients with cerebral palsy, epicondylitis and multiple sclerosis (13–16). Several studies have shown that ESWT is effective for treating spasticity in post-stroke patients (17, 18). Dymarek et al. (19, 20) indicated that ESWT could effectively improve limb spasticity in post-stroke patients. In addition, a recent meta-analysis demonstrated the effectiveness of ESWT for spasticity in post-stroke patients (21). However, this was not a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs), and the quality of the included studies was not high. Considering the potential limitations of this earlier meta-analysis, the aim of the current study was to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis of RCTs to assess whether ESWT significantly improves spasticity in post-stroke patients. Furthermore, subgroup analysis was carried out to identify potential moderators or mediators.

Methods

Data sources

A systematic review and meta-analysis was performed according to the guidelines of the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews (22) and the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) statement (23). PubMed, EMBASE, EBSCO, Web of Science, Cochrane CENTRAL electronic databases were searched systematically from the establishment of the database to December 2017, with the key search terms: “extracorporeal shock wave therapy” and “stroke”. The reference lists of the resulting publications and reviews identified in the initial searches were scanned for further references. The literature search was limited to publications in English.

Selection criteria

The inclusion criteria for selection of studies were: (i) double or single-blind RCTs; (ii) participants with a diagnosis of ischaemic stroke or haemorrhagic stroke who had spasticity of the lower or upper limb with a MAS score >1; (iii) experimental groups treated with ESWT alone or ESWT combined with other interventions; (iv) control groups treated with sham ESWT alone or sham ESWT combined with other interventions; (v) English language publications.

The exclusion criteria were: (i) studies that were not RCTs; (ii) studies in which the participants were children or adolescents (aged less than 18 years); (iii) reviews, case reports/series; (iv) non-English articles; (v) duplicated data; (vi) studies in which relevant outcome indexes were not reported.

 

Data extraction

Two reviewers (WW, WFJ) independently extracted the following data: (i) sample characteristics (sample size, mean age, sex); (ii) clinical features (diagnosis, spasticity at baseline and study end-point); (iii) ESWT therapy protocol (frequency, intensity, site, number of treatment sessions). Study outcome was based on MAS, MTS, H/M ratio and range of motion before and after ESWT.

Risk of bias assessment

The quality of RCTs was assessed independently using the methods recommended by the Cochrane review (24). Two investigators (WW, WFJ) independently assessed the quality of the study, and any disagreements were resolved by discussion and consensus with a third author (QCQ). The quality assessment includes 6 domains: random sequence generation, allocation concealment, blinding of investigators and/or participants, blinding of outcome assessment, degree of incompleteness of outcome data, and selective reporting of study outcomes. Each domain has low, moderate, or high risk.

Statistical analysis

All statistical analyses were conducted using RevMan 5.3 (The Cochrane Collaboration, Software Update, Oxford, UK) and Stata 12.0 (Stata Corp, College Station, TX, USA). All continuous outcomes are expressed as mean differences (standardized and weighted to be determined by available data). Sensitivity analysis was performed to examine the influence of a single study on the overall estimate by omitting 1 study in turn. A p -value <0.05 was considered statistically significant. If p < 0.05 and Ivalue > 50%, the random-effects model was used; otherwise, the fixed effects model was used.[…]

 

Continue —> Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine – Effects of extracorporeal shock wave therapy on spasticity in post-stroke patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials – HTML

Fig. 1. Flowchart for study selection. RCT: randomized controlled trial.

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