Posts Tagged REHABILITATION

[Abstract] The Work Disability Functional Assessment Battery (WD-FAB) – Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics

Abstract

Accuracy in measuring function related to one’s ability to work is central to public confidence in a work disability benefits system. In the United States, national disability programs are challenged to adjudicate millions of work disability claims each year in a timely and accurate manner. The Work Disability Functional Assessment Battery (WD-FAB) was developed to provide work disability agencies and other interested parties a comprehensive and efficient approach to profiling a person’s function related to their ability to work. The WD-FAB is grounded by the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health conceptual framework.

 

via The Work Disability Functional Assessment Battery (WD-FAB) – Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics

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[REVIEW] Strategies to implement and monitor in-home transcranial electrical stimulation in neurological and psychiatric patient populations: a systematic review – Full Text

Abstract

Background

Transcranial electrical stimulation is a promising technique to facilitate behavioural improvements in neurological and psychiatric populations. Recently there has been interest in remote delivery of stimulation within a participant’s home.

Objective

The purpose of this review is to identify strategies employed to implement and monitor in-home stimulation and identify whether these approaches are associated with protocol adherence, adverse events and patient perspectives.

Methods

MEDLINE, Embase Classic + Embase, Emcare and PsycINFO databases and clinical trial registries were searched to identify studies which reported primary data for any type of transcranial electrical stimulation applied as a home-based treatment.

Results

Nineteen published studies from unique trials and ten on-going trials were included. For published data, internal validity was assessed with the Cochrane risk of bias assessment tool with most studies exhibiting a high level of bias possibly reflecting the preliminary nature of current work. Several different strategies were employed to prepare the participant, deliver and monitor the in-home transcranial electrical stimulation. The use of real time videoconferencing to monitor in-home transcranial electrical stimulation appeared to be associated with higher levels of compliance with the stimulation protocol and greater participant satisfaction. There were no severe adverse events associated with in-home stimulation.

Conclusions

Delivery of transcranial electrical stimulation within a person’s home offers many potential benefits and appears acceptable and safe provided appropriate preparation and monitoring is provided. Future in-home transcranial electrical stimulation studies should use real-time videoconferencing as one of the approaches to facilitate delivery of this potentially beneficial treatment.

Introduction

Transcranial electrical stimulation (tES) is a technique used to modulate cortical function and human behaviour. It involves weak current passing through the scalp via surface electrodes to stimulate the underlying brain. A common type of tES is transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). Several studies have demonstrated tDCS is capable of modulating cortical function, depending on the direction of current flow [123]. When the anode is positioned over a cortical region, the current causes depolarisation of the neuronal cells, increasing spontaneous firing rates [4]. Conversely, positioning the cathode over the target cortical region causes hyperpolarisation and a decrease in spontaneous firing rates [4]. This modulation of cortical activity can be observed beyond the period of stimulation and is thought to be mediated by mechanisms which resemble long term potentiation and depression [5]. Along similar lines, transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) and transcranial random noise stimulation (tRNS) are also forms of tES. Both tACS and tRNS are thought to interact with ongoing oscillatory cortical rhythms in a frequency dependent manner to influence human behaviour [678].

The ability of tES to selectively modulate cortical activity offers a promising tool to induce behavioural change. Indeed, several studies have demonstrated that tES may be a favourable approach to reduce impairment following stroke [9], improve symptoms of neglect [10], or reduce symptoms of depression [11]. While these results appear promising, there remains debate around technical aspects of stimulation along with individual participant characteristics that may influence the reliability of a stimulation response [1213141516171819202122]. However, current evidence does suggest that effects of stimulation may be cumulative, with greater behavioural improvements observed following repeated stimulation sessions [20]. Furthermore, tES has shown potential as a tool for maintenance stimulation, with potential relapses of depression managed by stimulation which continued over several months [2324]. Therefore, it may be that repeated stimulation sessions will become a hallmark of future clinical and research trials aiming to improve behavioural outcomes. This would require participants to attend frequent treatment sessions applied over a number of days, months or years. Given that many participants who are likely to benefit from stimulation are those with higher levels of motor or cognitive impairment, the requirement to travel regularly for treatment may present a barrier, limiting potential clinical utility or ability to recruit suitable research participants [25]. In addition, regular daily treatments would also hinder those who travel from remote destinations to receive this potentially beneficial neuromodulation. Therefore, there is a requirement to consider approaches to safely and effectively deliver stimulation away from the traditional locations of research departments or clinical facilities.

One benefit of tES over other forms of non-invasive brain stimulation, such as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, is the ability to easily transport the required equipment. This opportunity may allow for stimulation to be delivered in a participant’s home, which could represent the mode of delivery for future clinical applications. However, it may be unreasonable to expect that a participant would be capable of managing delivery of tES alone and would likely require some form of training and/or monitoring [25]. Although tES is considered relatively safe [26], stimulation should be delivered within established guidelines to avoid adverse events [27]. Inappropriate delivery of stimulation could result in neural damage, detrimental behavioural effects, irritation, burns or lesions of the skin [282930313233]. Therefore, in order to deliver stimulation safely to the appropriate cortical region, it is likely that in-home stimulation may require some form of monitoring [25].

It is currently unclear what the best approach is to implement and monitor in-home tES. An early paper proposed several guidelines to perform in home tES [34]. However, these guidelines were not based on evidence from published clinical trials as there were none available at the time of publication. One recent systematic review sought to discuss current work in this area and highlighted the need for further research to investigate safety, technical monitoring and assessment of efficacy [35]. Given the recent, and growing, interest in home-based brain stimulation, we felt it was now pertinent to conduct a review to specifically identify strategies employed to implement and monitor the use of in-home tES in neurological and psychiatric populations. The secondary questions were to report protocol adherence, adverse events and patient perspectives of in-home tES. Understanding optimal treatment fidelity for in-home brain stimulation will be instrumental to achieving higher levels of tES useability and acceptance within a participant’s home.[…]

 

via Strategies to implement and monitor in-home transcranial electrical stimulation in neurological and psychiatric patient populations: a systematic review | Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation | Full Text

Fig. 2 Cochrane risk of bias tool was used to assess quality of included studies

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[Abstract] Cognitive rehabilitation post traumatic brain injury: A systematic review for emerging use of virtual reality technology

Highlights

  • Virtual reality technology improves cognitive function post-traumatic brain injury.
  • Optimal treatment protocol is; 10–12 sessions, 20–40 min in duration with 2–4 sessions per week.
  • There was weak evidence for positive effect of virtual reality on attention.

Abstract

Background

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can causes numerous cognitive impairments usually in the aspects of problem-solving, executive function, memory, and attention. Several studies has suggested that rehabilitation treatment interventions can be effective in treating cognitive symptoms of brain injury. Virtual reality (VR) technology potential as a useful tool for the assessment and rehabilitation of cognitive processes.

Objectives

The aims of present systematic review are to examine effects of VR training intervention on cognitive function, and to identify effective VR treatment protocol in patients with TBI.

Methods

PubMed, Scopus, PEDro, REHABDATA, EMBASE, web of science, and MEDLINE were searched for studies investigated effect of VR on cognitive functions post TBI. The methodological quality were evaluated using PEDro scale. The results of selected studies were summarized.

Results

Nine studies were included in present study. Four were randomized clinical trials, case studies (n = 3), prospective study (n = 1), and pilot study (n = 1). The scores on the PEDro ranged from 0 to 7 with a mean score of 3. The results showed improvement in various cognitive function aspects such as; memory, executive function, and attention in patients with TBI after VR training.

Conclusion

Using different VR tools with following treatment protocol; 10–12 sessions, 20–40 min in duration with 2–4 sessions per week may improves cognitive function in patients with TBI. There was weak evidence for effects of VR training on attention post TBI.

via Cognitive rehabilitation post traumatic brain injury: A systematic review for emerging use of virtual reality technology – Journal of Clinical Neuroscience

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[ARTICLE] Elements virtual rehabilitation improves motor, cognitive, and functional outcomes in adult stroke: evidence from a randomized controlled pilot study – Full Text

 

Abstract

Background

Virtual reality technologies show potential as effective rehabilitation tools following neuro-trauma. In particular, the Elements system, involving customized surface computing and tangible interfaces, produces strong treatment effects for upper-limb and cognitive function following traumatic brain injury. The present study evaluated the efficacy of Elements as a virtual rehabilitation approach for stroke survivors.

Methods

Twenty-one adults (42–94 years old) with sub-acute stroke were randomized to four weeks of Elements virtual rehabilitation (three weekly 30–40 min sessions) combined with treatment as usual (conventional occupational and physiotherapy) or to treatment as usual alone. Upper-limb skill (Box and Blocks Test), cognition (Montreal Cognitive Assessment and selected CogState subtests), and everyday participation (Neurobehavioral Functioning Inventory) were examined before and after inpatient training, and one-month later.

Results

Effect sizes for the experimental group (d = 1.05–2.51) were larger compared with controls (d = 0.11–0.86), with Elements training showing statistically greater improvements in motor function of the most affected hand (p = 0.008), and general intellectual status and executive function (p ≤ 0.001). Proportional recovery was two- to three-fold greater than control participants, with superior transfer to everyday motor, cognitive, and communication behaviors. All gains were maintained at follow-up.

Conclusion

A course of Elements virtual rehabilitation using goal-directed and exploratory upper-limb movement tasks facilitates both motor and cognitive recovery after stroke. The magnitude of training effects, maintenance of gains at follow-up, and generalization to daily activities provide compelling preliminary evidence of the power of virtual rehabilitation when applied in a targeted and principled manner.

Trial registration

this pilot study was not registered.

Introduction

Stroke is one of the most common forms of acquired brain injury (ABI), with around 60,000 new and recurrent strokes occurring every year in Australia alone [1]. The clinical outcome of stroke is variable but often includes persistent upper-limb motor deficits, including weakness, discoordination, and reduced speed and mobility [2], and cognitive impairments in information processing and executive function [34]. Not surprisingly, stroke is a leading cause of disability worldwide, and the burden of stroke across all levels of the International Classification of Functioning (ICF) – body structures/function, activity, and participation – underlines the importance of interventions that can impact multiple domains of functioning [56].

Recovery of functional performance following stroke remains a significant challenge for rehabilitation specialists [78], but may be enhanced by innovation in the use of new technologies like virtual reality [9101112]. A critical goal is to find compelling ways of engaging individuals in their therapy by creating meaningful, stimulating and intensive forms of training [13]. The term, virtual rehabilitation (VR), is used to describe a form of training wherein patients interact with virtual or augmented environments, presented with the aid of technology [1415]. The technologies can be either commercial systems (e.g. Nintendo Wii, Xbox Kinect) or those customised specifically for rehabilitation. VR offers a number of advantages over traditional therapies, including the ability to engage individuals in the simulated practice of functional tasks at higher doses [1617], automated assessment of performance over time, flexibility in the scaling of task constraints, and a variety of reward structures to help maintain compliance [18].

While evaluation research is still in its infancy, recent systematic reviews and meta-analyses show that VR can enhance upper-limb motor outcomes in stroke [101119], yielding treatment effects of medium-to-large magnitude [1011], and complementing conventional approaches to rehabilitation. VR has been shown to engender high levels of engagement in stroke patients undergoing physical therapy [2021] and training of even moderate intensity can afford functional benefits at the activity/skill level [919]. In the specific case of upper-limb VR, however, there is little available evidence that these benefits transfer to participation [9]. Furthermore, most available data is on patients in chronic stages of recovery, with less on acute stroke [9]. Notwithstanding this, use of VR has begun to emerge in clinical practice, recommended in Australian and international stroke guidelines as a viable adjunct in therapy to improve motor and functional outcomes [222324].

Until recently, most VR systems have been designed to improve motor functions, with cognitive outcomes often a secondary consideration in evaluation studies [91011]. Notwithstanding this, treatments that target both motor and cognitive functions are indicated for stroke, given evidence that cognitive and motor systems overlap at a structural and functional level [2526], and work synergistically in a “perception-action cycle” [27] in stroke patients undergoing rehabilitation [28]. Recent studies provide preliminary evidence of improved attention and memory in stroke patients following motor-oriented VR [29303132], amounting to a small-to-medium effect on cognition [9]. When designed to address aspects of cognitive control and planning, VR has the potential to enhance dual-task control, resulting in better generalization of trained skills to daily functioning [33].

While evaluation research is still in its infancy, several recent customized systems (like Elements, the system evaluated here) have been deliberately designed to exploit factors known to enhance training intensity and motor learning. Informed by neuroscience and learning theory [for a recent review see 12], the Elements VR system was designed to enhance neuro-plastic recovery processes via: (1) an enriched therapeutic environment affording a natural form of user interaction via tangible computing and surface displays [34], which engage both the cognitive attention of participants and their motivation to explore training tasks; (2) concurrent augmented feedback (AF) on performance [35] offering participants additional information on the outcome of their actions to assist in re-building a sense of body position in space (aka body schema) and ability to predict/plan future actions; and (3) scaling of task challenges to the current level of motor and cognitive function [36], ensuring dynamic scaffolding of participants’ information processing and response capabilities. The Elements system, described in detail below and in earlier publications [3738], consists of a large (42 in.) tabletop surface display, tangible user interfaces, and software for presenting both goal-directed and exploratory virtual environments. Previous evaluations of the system in patients with traumatic brain injury showed improvements in both motor and cognitive performance, with transfer to activities of daily living [3739]. However, the impact of Elements in other forms of ABI, such as stroke, has not been evaluated.

The broad aim of current study was to evaluate the efficacy of the Elements VR interactive tabletop system for rehabilitation of motor and cognitive functions in sub-acute stroke, compared with treatment as usual (TAU). We were particularly interested in motor and cognitive outcomes, their relationship, and the transfer and maintenance of treatment effects. Training-related changes at the activity/skill level on standardized measures of motor and cognitive performance were investigated, together with functional changes. By offering an engaging, principled and customized form of interaction, we predicted that the Elements system would effect (i) greater changes on both motor and cognitive outcomes than with TAU alone; (ii) sustained benefits, as assessed over a short follow-up period, and (iii) transfer to everyday functional performance (i.e. participation).[…]

 

Continue —> Elements virtual rehabilitation improves motor, cognitive, and functional outcomes in adult stroke: evidence from a randomized controlled pilot study | Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation | Full Text

Fig. 1

 

Fig. 1

Examples of the Elements (a) goal-directed Bases task with visual augmented feedback, and (b) exploratory Squiggles task

 

 

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[ARTICLE] Compliant lower limb exoskeletons: a comprehensive review on mechanical design principles – Full Text

Abstract

Exoskeleton technology has made significant advances during the last decade, resulting in a considerable variety of solutions for gait assistance and rehabilitation. The mechanical design of these devices is a crucial aspect that affects the efficiency and effectiveness of their interaction with the user. Recent developments have pointed towards compliant mechanisms and structures, due to their promising potential in terms of adaptability, safety, efficiency, and comfort. However, there still remain challenges to be solved before compliant lower limb exoskeletons can be deployed in real scenarios. In this review, we analysed 52 lower limb wearable exoskeletons, focusing on three main aspects of compliance: actuation, structure, and interface attachment components. We highlighted the drawbacks and advantages of the different solutions, and suggested a number of promising research lines. We also created and made available a set of data sheets that contain the technical characteristics of the reviewed devices, with the aim of providing researchers and end-users with an updated overview on the existing solutions.

Background

Robotic wearable exoskeletons1 have potential impact in several application domains, like industry [1], space [2] and healthcare [3]. In the healthcare sector, this technology is expected to contribute by reducing the clinical costs associated with the assistance and rehabilitation of people with neurological and age-related disorders [3456]. Research in this area is clearly shifting toward the inclusion of compliant elements (i.e. actuators, structure2, etc.) as a way to overcome the main drawbacks of rigid exoskeletons, in terms of adaptability, comfort, safety and efficiency [7].

Currently, there is a large variety of designs of lower limb compliant exoskeletons aimed at gait rehabilitation or assistance. However, there is a lack of detailed information about the mechanical components of these devices, which has been largely overlooked by previous reviews (e.g. [789]). These variety and lack of information makes it difficult for developers to identify which design choices are most important for a specific application, user’s need or pathology. For this reason, we aimed to bring together available literature into a comprehensive review focused on existing lower limb wearable exoskeletons that contain compliant elements in their design.

In this work, we refer to ‘compliant exoskeleton’ as a system that includes compliant properties derived from non-rigid actuation system and/or structure. Our review focused on three particular aspects: the actuation technology, the structure of the exoskeleton and the interface attachment components3.

We have gathered the mechanical and actuation characteristics of 52 devices into standardized data sheets (available at Additional file 1), to facilitate the process of comparison of the different solutions under a unified and homogeneous perspective. We consider that such a comprehensive summary will be vital to researchers and developers in search for an updated design reference.

Methodology

We applied the following search query on the Scopus database: TITLE-ABS-KEY(“actuat*” AND (“complian*” OR “elastic*” OR “soft”) AND (“exoskeleton*” OR “rehabilitat*” OR “orthotic*” OR “orthos*” OR (“wearable” AND “robot*”)) OR “exosuit” OR “exo-suit”), which returned 1131 studies. We excluded: publications focusing on upper limb robots; non-actuated compliant exoskeletons; solutions where compliance was achieved through control; studies that did not report any mechanical information on the robot; and studies not related to either assistance or rehabilitation. The above process resulted in a total of 105 publications, which covered 52 different lower limb exoskeletons.

To simplify and structure the information, we classified the compliant exoskeletons according to the mechanical component that results in their intrinsic compliant performance: (i) exoskeletons with compliant actuators (i.e. series elastic, variable stiffness and pneumatic actuators) and rigid structure; (ii) exoskeletons with soft structure (soft exoskeletons4) and rigid actuators; (iii) exoskeletons with compliant actuators and soft structure. The review describes the different design choices of the exoskeletons, i.e. actuation system, structure and interfacing attachment components to connect the actuators with the human body.

A glossary with the most commonly used terms in this article has been added at the end of the document. Some definitions have been readapted from the literature.

Results

As shown in Fig. 1, 85% of the reviewed articles (corresponding to 44 exoskeletons) used compliant actuators and a rigid structure. Soft exoskeletons represent 11% of the reviewed articles (6 exoskeletons). Two exoskeletons (4%) belong to the intersection of previous groups, this is, exoskeletons integrating both soft structure and compliant actuation5. We refer to the latter as “fully compliant exoskeletons”.

Fig. 1
Fig. 1

Classification of the 52 lower limb exoskeletons according to their compliant mechanical component

 

Continue —>  Compliant lower limb exoskeletons: a comprehensive review on mechanical design principles | Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation | Full Text

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[ARTICLE] Comparing memory group training and computerized cognitive training for improving memory function following stroke: A phase II randomized controlled trial – Full Text HTML

Abstract

Objectives: Memory deficits are common after stroke, yet remain a high unmet need within the community. The aim of this phase II randomized controlled trial was to determine whether group compensatory or computerized cognitive training approaches were effective in rehabilitating memory following stroke.

Methods: A parallel, 3-group, single-blind, randomized controlled trial was used to compare the effectiveness of a compensatory memory skills group with restorative computerized training on functional goal attainment. Secondary outcomes explored change in neuropsychological measures of memory, subjective ratings of prospective and everyday memory failures and ratings of internal and external strategy use.

Results: A total of 65 community dwelling survivors of stroke were randomized (24: memory group, 22: computerized cognitive training, and 19: wait-list control). Participants allocated to the memory group reported significantly greater attainment of memory goals and internal strategy use at 6-week follow-up relative to participants in computerized training and wait-list control conditions. However, groups did not differ significantly on any subjective or objective secondary outcomes.

Conclusion: Preliminary evidence shows that memory skills groups, but not computerized training, may facilitate achievement of functional memory goals for community dwelling survivors of stroke. These findings require further replication, given the modest sample size, subjective nature of the outcomes and the absence of objective eligibility for inclusion.

 

Lay Abstract

Memory problems are commonly reported following stroke but receiving help for these difficulties remains a high unmet need among survivors. Two different approaches to memory rehabilitation are available: memory skills group training and computerised cognitive training; however, it is unclear which approach is more effective. This study compared these two approaches in 65 stroke survivors who all reported memory difficulties. We found that participants who received memory group training were more likely to achieve their memory improvement goals than those who received computerised cognitive training. It was concluded that memory skills group training may be a more effective approach to improve memory function in daily life following stroke, but more research is required.

 

Introduction

Memory impairment is one of the most commonly reported cognitive consequences of stroke (1) and can compromise rehabilitation engagement (2). Despite this, support for memory problems remains a high unmet need within the community (3) and has been identified by patients, researchers and clinicians as a high-priority research area (4).

Memory skills group (MSG) training and computerized cognitive training (CCT) are commonly used approaches to rehabilitate memory. Although both share the fundamental goal of improving everyday memory outcomes (5), there are a number of key differences between these interventions. CCT adopts a restorative approach to rehabilitation, with the theoretical goal of restoring underlying impairment through cognitive exercises (6). Repetitive drill and practice style activities are purported to result in everyday functional gains, although there remains no robust evidence of this transfer (6). By contrast, MSG interventions take a compensatory approach to rehabilitation with a theoretical aim of lessening the disabling impact of impairment (7). In addition, the format of delivery differs. CCT training tasks are generally completed individually, with associated well-recognized advantages of low cost, wide availability and potential for at personalized use at home (8). MSG intervention is facilitated by a trained clinician and is delivered face-to-face in a group format, due, in part, to increased recognition of the multifaceted nature of memory dysfunction and limited economic resources (9).

While a number of comprehensive reviews have explored best-practice recommendations for cognitive impairment following acquired brain injury (10, 11), only a minority of studies included in these reviews were conducted in stroke-only samples. Consequently, the long-held view that MSG training is the treatment of choice in rehabilitating memory has been largely speculative post-stroke and appears to have been based on an absence of evidence, rather than evidence of absence for the effectiveness of CCT (5). The aim of this study was to compare the effectiveness of CCT and MSG training in community dwelling survivors of stroke in achieving individualized, functional memory goals. A further aim was to explore the effect of training on secondary measures of objective, neuropsychological memory tasks and subjective memory ratings. In addressing these aims, we intended to maintain ecological validity by evaluating the interventions as they are clinically implemented (rather than transforming them to be experimentally matched with each other on characteristics such as group vs individual format), with the goal of facilitating clinical translation. We hypothesized that intervention participants (i.e. CCT and MSG) would show greater improvement in performance on outcome measures than waitlist control participants (WC). Given the proposed mechanism of action of each approach, we also hypothesized participants in the CCT group would show greater improvement on neuropsychological tests of memory, while participants in the MSG would show greater improvement on functional measures of memory and strategy use.[…]

 

Continue —> Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine – Comparing memory group training and computerized cognitive training for improving memory function following stroke: A phase II randomized controlled trial – HTML

 

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[ARTICLE] Boosting robot-assisted rehabilitation of stroke hemiparesis by individualized selection of upper limb movements – a pilot study – Full Text

Abstract

Background

Intensive robot-assisted training of the upper limb after stroke can reduce motor impairment, even at the chronic stage. However, the effectiveness of practice for recovery depends on the selection of the practised movements. We hypothesized that rehabilitation can be optimized by selecting the movements to be practiced based on the trainee’s performance profile.

Methods

We present a novel principle (‘steepest gradients’) for performance-based selection of movements. The principle is based on mapping motor performance across a workspace and then selecting movements located at regions of the steepest transition between better and worse performance.

To assess the benefit of this principle we compared the effect of 15 sessions of robot-assisted reaching training on upper-limb motor impairment, between two groups of people who have moderate-to-severe chronic upper-limb hemiparesis due to stroke. The test group (N = 7) received steepest gradients-based training, iteratively selected according to the steepest gradients principle with weekly remapping, whereas the control group (N = 9) received a standard “centre-out” reaching training. Training intensity was identical.

Results

Both groups showed improvement in Fugl-Meyer upper-extremity scores (the primary outcome measure). Moreover, the test group showed significantly greater improvement (twofold) compared to control. The score remained elevated, on average, for at least 4 weeks although the additional benefit of the steepest-gradients -based training diminished relative to control.

Conclusions

This study provides a proof of concept for the superior benefit of performance-based selection of practiced movements in reducing upper-limb motor impairment due to stroke. This added benefit was most evident in the short term, suggesting that performance-based steepest-gradients training may be effective in increasing the rate of initial phase of practice-based recovery; we discuss how long-term retention may also be improved.

Background

Upper-limb (UL) motor impairment is a common outcome of stroke that can severely hamper basic daily living activities [123]. Training-based therapy can promote recovery with the outcome depending on the intensity and duration of the intervention [456]. Robot-assisted training allows intense practice without increasing the individual’s dependence on a therapist and can improve clinical scores of UL motor capacity [789]. However, the effects are usually small and provide limited improvement in motor function, especially in more severe hemiparesis [67101112]. Identifying training methods that can boost outcome is thus vital. Considering the extent of effort and sophistication invested in robot-assisted technology (e.g. [1314]) perhaps it is time to focus on how to optimise its utility (in terms of training principles). Recent attempts have focussed on creating training scenarios which are more engaging or which simulate daily living activities. However, the evidence for the added benefit of this approach is mixed [15]. Another approach is to individualize the difficulty of the practised task (e.g. [1617]). This is based on the idea that motor improvement depends on the ability to ‘make sense’ of information related to performance [18], and postulates that matching the challenge (difficulty) level of the training task to the current ability of the trainee would optimise motor learning [19]. Individualizing task difficulty is commonly achieved by adjusting the parameters controlling task demands (e.g. movement speed or distance; or amount of assistance) across a pre-selected standard set of movements, to match the ability of the individual. Yet, so far there is little evidence for the added benefit of this approach for UL motor recovery. Hence, individually adjusting the task difficulty level might –by itself – not suffice for boosting UL rehabilitation outcome.

We hypothesised instead that appropriate selection of the practiced movements – in terms of the muscle coordination patterns – is a key for improving motor recovery. UL hemiparesis can affect various aspects of control. Thus, different motor impairments may benefit from different training movements. For example, training with movements involving mainly patterns of intact muscle coordination is unlikely to contribute much to improve other impaired movement patterns, regardless of the task difficulty level. Similarly, training that focuses only on movements that involve severely impaired muscle control may contribute little, even if the task can be performed by compensatory movements. Hence, to be optimally effective, individualized training may need to be expressed, not only by individually adjusting the level of difficulty of the task, but also in selecting tasks which are relevant for recovery. Little has been done to explore this possibility (for some attempts see [2021]). Here we present a novel method for performance-based selection of the set of movement tasks for robot-assisted training. The method depends on the availability of a motor performance “map” that profiles performance across a workspace. Movements are selected within intermediate levels of performance, based on the variation of performance across the map. Specifically, we predicted that optimal reduction of UL hemiparesis would be achieved by training with movements located at points on the map of steep transition (steep gradient) from high to low performance (Fig. 1), thus promoting the cascade of generalisation of motor improvement. Improved performance of movements at these steep gradient locations on the performance map would steer improvement in neighbouring, but more impaired regions, and encourage recovery. Here, we present evidence supporting this hypothesis.

Fig. 1

Fig. 1Illustrative sketch of the principle of selection of trained movements, based on the steepest gradients in a hypothetical motor performance profile (e.g. reaching aiming; vertical axis) measured across some particular task parameter (e.g. movement direction; horizontal axis); for simplicity, we show here a single dimension. The selected movements (grey horizontal bars) correspond to the regions with the steepest performance gradients, indicated by dashed ellipses. This movement selection principle can be applied where movement tasks can be defined by one or more continuous parameters, i.e. in a 1D, 2D, or higher dimensional map as long as the derivative of performance can be calculated. In this study we applied this principle on two measures of reaching performance (ability to move and ability to aim) each measured across two dimensions of the task (target location and movement direction)

To apply our method we first developed a novel principle of mapping of robot-assisted reaching performance across two dimensions of target location and movement direction [22], informing us about postural and movement-related aspects of motor control, respectively—key factors in the planning and execution of reaching movements [232425]. The performance maps then served to select movement sets for training, based on our “steepest gradients” principle. To test our hypothesis–namely, training based on that principle would lead to superior recovery–we compared the outcome of 15 sessions of robot-assisted training between two groups of people who have severe-to-moderate chronic UL hemiparesis due to stroke, differing only in the selection of trained movement. In one group the selection was based on the steepest performance gradients principle (updated weekly) whereas the other group was trained with a fixed set of centre-out reaching movements regardless of participant’s performance profile, as commonly used in robot-assisted UL therapy [26].[…]

 

Continue —-> Boosting robot-assisted rehabilitation of stroke hemiparesis by individualized selection of upper limb movements – a pilot study | Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation | Full Text

Fig. 2Experimental design. a. The sessions in each of the 3 participation phases are shown, with different colours indicating different session type. CA: clinical assessment; Map: mapping session. The first CA also served for screening. b. Schematic description of the experimental setting (top view; adapted from [32]). The participant held the robot handle, with grip ensured by a glove (Active Hands Co Ltd) and arm supported against gravity (SaeboMass, Saebo Inc.; not shown), which—at the beginning of each trial – was gently moved by the robot to a start position (white on-screen disc). Next, a target appeared on the horizontal display (blue on-screen disc; here shown black) and the participant tried to reach the target within the allotted time as accurately as possible, with the robot providing assisting and guiding forces as needed at each moment. Hand position was indicated on-screen by a red disc (not shown here). The horizontal display occluded the hand and the manipulandum from vision. Participants wore a harness to restrict trunk movement, keeping their forehead on a padded headrest attached to the workstation frame. The assistive force (Assist) promoted slower-than-allowed movements and also impeded very fast rebound-like movements characterising high elbow flexor muscle tone. The guiding force (Guide) impeded lateral deviation from a straight path towards the target. An animated ‘explosion’ was presented at the end of each trial with its final radius indicating reach accuracy (not shown). Also, during training sessions a 4-bar histogram summary, shown after each block (84 trials), informed the participant about his or her ability to initiate movements, move, aim and reach the target (adopted from [16]). c. The reaching workspace used for mapping performance. The locations of the 8 targets are indicated by small open circles and are specified by angular coordinates relative to the centre. An example of the hand located at the 90otarget is shown. Participants made 5 cm reaches to each target from 8 start locations (indicated, for the example target, by small black dots and arrows), which were also specified in angular coordinates relative to the particular target. Note that the start coordinates therefore correspond to intended movement direction. The dashed circle indicates the extent of the mapped workspace, centred 24 cm in front of the headrest

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[BLOG POST] New Rehabilitation Prescription – RP2019 now available   | ACNR | Online Neurology Journal

A new Rehabilitation Prescription (RP2019), the tool that documents the rehabilitation needs of the individual with Acquired Brain Injury (ABI), is now available, with versions available for adults and children.

Commenting on RP2019, Professor Chris Moran, National Clinical Director for Trauma to NHS England, and Professor of Orthopaedic Trauma Surgery at Nottingham University Hospital said:

Neurorehabilitation is a key component of the major trauma network; an essential part of good trauma care and good patient outcomes.  Rehabilitation needs should be assessed shortly after a patient is admitted to the major trauma centre, delivered during the inpatient phase, and continued in a trauma unit or in the local community.  This new RP details the neurorehabilitation needs of both children and adults, and in order to maintain the continuity of rehabilitation, a copy should be given to both the patient and/or family as well as their GP.

Professor Michael Barnes, ABI Alliance Chair said: “The Acquired Brain Injury  Alliance is a collaborative venture between charities, professional groups and industry coalitions working in the field of ABI.  We are supporting the availability of this revised version of the RP to emphasise its key role in ensuring patients access  neurorehabilitation services following discharge.  However, the RP has no value if the individual with an ABI and their GP don’t receive a copy.  And if the individual and the GP don’t know what rehabilitation is required then no access to services can be planned or implemented.”

The report produced in September 2018 by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Acquired Brain Injury (APPG on ABI) entitled ‘Acquired Brain Injury and Neurorehabilitation – Time for Change’ outlined the critical role of neurorehabilitation in the ABI care pathway and the need for RPs for all brain injury survivors following discharge from acute care1.

RP2019 stipulates that a rehabilitation assessment should take place within 48-72 hours of the patient’s admission and has to be completed for all major trauma patients who need rehabilitation at discharge2.  The RP must contain core items and be developed with the involvement of the individual and/or their family/carers, and administered by a specialist health care professional in rehabilitation.

RP2019 should be completed by health care professionals after a multidisciplinary team assessment and signed off by senior staff members, at a minimum a consultant or specialist trainee in rehabilitation medicine, Band-7 specialist rehabilitation clinician or major trauma coordinator.  It can be provided as a single document for both the patient and professionals, or as two separate documents to be given at the point of discharge.

The ABI Alliance supports the use of the RP for every individual, both children, young people and adults with an ABI, on discharge from hospital, with a copy sent to their GP.  This will then provide a useful resource for the GP to work with the individual and facilitate access to rehabilitation services in the community, maximising the individual’s health outcomes.

References

  1. Acquired Brain Injury and Neurorehabilitation – Time for Change.  All-Party Parliamentary Group on Acquired Brain Injury Report, September 2018. https://www.ukabif.org.uk/campaigns/appg-report/ (accessed January 2019).
  2. Major Trauma Rehabilitation Prescription 2019 TARN data entry guidance document October 2018. http://www.c4ts.qmul.ac.uk/downloads/mt-rehabilitation-prescription-2019-guidance.pdf (accessed January 2019).

via New Rehabilitation Prescription – RP2019 now available   | ACNR | Online Neurology Journal

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[Abstract] Action observation therapy for improving arm function, walking ability, and daily activity performance after stroke: a systematic review and meta-analysis

This study was to investigate the effectiveness of action observation therapy on arm and hand motor function, walking ability, gait performance, and activities of daily living in stroke patients.

Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.

Searches were completed in January 2019 from electronic databases, including PubMed, Scopus, the Cochrane Library, and OTseeker.

Two independent reviewers performed data extraction and evaluated the study quality by the PEDro scale. The pooled effect sizes on different aspects of outcome measures were calculated. Subgroup analyses were performed to examine the impact of stroke phases on treatment efficacy.

Included were 17 articles with 600 patients. Compared with control treatments, the action observation therapy had a moderate effect size on arm and hand motor outcomes (Hedge’s g = 0.564; P < 0.001), a moderate to large effect size on walking outcomes (Hedge’s g = 0.779; P < 0.001), a large effect size on gait velocity (Hedge’s g = 0.990; P < 0.001), and a moderate to large effect size on activities of daily function (Hedge’s g = 0. 728; P = 0.004). Based on subgroup analyses, the action observation therapy showed moderate to large effect sizes in the studies of patients with acute/subacute stroke or those with chronic stroke (Hedge’s g = 0.661 and 0.783).

This review suggests that action observation therapy is an effective approach for stroke patients to improve arm and hand motor function, walking ability, gait velocity, and daily activity performance.

via Action observation therapy for improving arm function, walking ability, and daily activity performance after stroke: a systematic review and meta-analysis – Tzu-Hsuan Peng, Jun-Ding Zhu, Chih-Chi Chen, Ruei-Yi Tai, Chia-Yi Lee, Yu-Wei Hsieh, 2019

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[ARTICLE] Dynamic Lycra® orthoses as an adjunct to arm rehabilitation after stroke: a single-blind, two-arm parallel group, randomized controlled feasibility trial – Full Text

The aim of this study was to explore the feasibility of conducting a randomized controlled trial of dynamic Lycra® orthoses as an adjunct to arm rehabilitation after stroke and to explore the magnitude and direction of change on arm outcomes.

This is a single-blind, two-arm parallel group, feasibility randomized controlled trial.

In-patient rehabilitation.

The study participants were stroke survivors with arm hemiparesis two to four weeks after stroke receiving in-patient rehabilitation.

Participants were randomized 2:1 to wear Lycra® gauntlets for eight hours daily for eight weeks, plus usual rehabilitation (n = 27), or to usual rehabilitation only (n = 16).

Recruitment, retention, fidelity, adverse events and completeness of data collection were examined at 8 and 16 weeks; arm function (activity limitation; Action Research Arm Test, Motor Activity Log) and impairment (Nine-hole Peg Test, Motricity Index, Modified Tardieu Scale). Structured interviews explored acceptability.

Of the target of 51, 43 (84%) participants were recruited. Retention at 8 weeks was 32 (79%) and 24 (56%) at 16 weeks. In total, 11 (52%) intervention group participants and 6 (50%) control group participants (odds ratio = 1.3, 95% confidence interval = 0.2 to 7.8) had improved Action Research Arm Test level by 8 weeks; at 16 weeks, this was 8 (61%) intervention and 6 (75.0%) control participants (odds ratio = 1.1, 95% confidence interval = 0.1 to 13.1). Change on other measures favoured control participants. Acceptability was influenced by 26 adverse reactions.

Recruitment and retention were low, and adverse reactions were problematic. There were no indications of clinically relevant effects, but the small sample means definitive conclusions cannot be made. A definitive trial is not warranted without orthoses adaptation.

Studies with children who have spastic hemiplegia caused by cerebral palsy suggest that wearing dynamic Lycra® orthoses as an adjunct to goal-directed training may improve movement and functional goal achievement.1 This evidence raises the question of whether the orthoses may be effective as an adjunct to rehabilitation in adults with arm impairments after stroke. Arm impairments, which include weakness and sensory loss, restrict independence in activities of daily living and affect stroke survivors’ quality of life.2

Dynamic Lycra® orthoses are commercially available dynamic braces that use tensile properties of Lycra® to generate torsion, correct muscle force imbalances across joints, optimize muscle length and functional positioning, and provide compression to enhance proprioception and sensory awareness.3,4 However, effectiveness in stroke rehabilitation has not been fully evaluated, despite anecdotal evidence that they are already in use in clinical practice. One single case study of 6 weeks wear in a survivor with long-standing stroke4 and a crossover trial with 16 stroke survivors 3–36 weeks after stroke onset3 involving only 3 hours orthosis wear have shown improvements in arm impairment, sensation and functional outcomes after orthosis wear. Evidence is therefore limited to low-quality study designs, and rigorous effectiveness studies are required.

The aim of this feasibility randomized controlled trial was to examine recruitment, retention, adverse events, intervention fidelity, magnitude and direction of difference in outcomes in stroke survivors receiving Lycra® orthoses as an adjunct to usual rehabilitation, compared to those receiving usual rehabilitation only. It also aimed to explore survivor and carer perceptions of acceptability, to inform decisions about a future definitive randomized controlled trial.[…]

 

Continue —-> Dynamic Lycra® orthoses as an adjunct to arm rehabilitation after stroke: a single-blind, two-arm parallel group, randomized controlled feasibility trial – Jacqui H Morris, Alexandra John, Lucy Wedderburn, Petra Rauchhaus, Peter T Donnan, 2019

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Figure 1. Example of Lycra® gauntlet used in the study.

 

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