Posts Tagged stroke rehabilitation

[Abstract] The feasibility, acceptability and preliminary efficacy of a low-cost, virtual-reality based, upper-limb stroke rehabilitation device: a mixed methods study.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To establish feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of an adapted version of a commercially available, virtual-reality gaming system (the Personalised Stroke Therapy system) for upper-limb rehabilitation with community dwelling stroke-survivors.

METHOD:

Twelve stroke-survivors (nine females, mean age 58 years, [standard deviation 7.1], median stroke chronicity 42 months [interquartile range 34.7], Motricity index 14-25 for shoulder and elbow) were asked to complete nine, 40-min intervention sessions using two activities on the system over 3 weeks. Feasibility and acceptability were assessed through a semi-structured interview, recording of adverse effects, adherence, enjoyment (using an 11-point Likert scale), and perceived exertion (using the BORG scale). Assessments of impairment (Fugl-Meyer Assessment Upper extremity), activity (ABILHAND, Action Research Arm Test, Motor Activity Log-28), and participation (Subjective Index of Physical and Social Outcome) were completed at baseline, following intervention, and at 4-week follow-up. Data were analysed using Thematic Analysis of interview and intervention field-notes and Wilcoxon Signed Ranks. Side-by-side displays were used to integrate findings.

RESULTS:

Participants received between 175 and 336 min of intervention. Thirteen non-serious adverse effects were reported by five participants. Participants reported a high level of enjoyment (8.1 and 6.8 out of 10) and rated exertion between 11.6 and 12.9 out of 20. Themes of improvements in impairments and increased spontaneous use in functional activities were identified and supported by improvements in all outcome measures between baseline and post-intervention (p < 0.05 for all measures).

CONCLUSIONS:

Integrated findings suggested that the system is feasible and acceptable for use with a group of community-dwelling stroke-survivors including those with moderately-severe disability. Implications for rehabilitation To ensure feasibility of use and maintenance of an appropriate level of challenge, gaming technologies for use in upper-limb stroke rehabilitation should be personalised, dependent on individual need. Through the use of hands-free systems and personalisation, stroke survivors with moderate and moderately-severe levels of upper-limb impairment following stroke are able to use gaming technologies as a means of delivering upper-limb rehabilitation. Future studies should address issues of acceptability, feasibility, and efficacy of personalised gaming technologies for delivery of upper-limb stroke rehabilitation in the home environment. Findings from this study can be used to develop future games and activities suitable for use in stroke rehabilitation.

 

via The feasibility, acceptability and preliminary efficacy of a low-cost, virtual-reality based, upper-limb stroke rehabilitation device: a mixed meth… – PubMed – NCBI

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[Abstract] Application of Commercial Games for Home-Based Rehabilitation for People with Hemiparesis: Challenges and Lessons Learned

Objective: To identify the factors that influence the use of an at-home virtual rehabilitation gaming system from the perspective of therapists, engineers, and adults and adolescents with hemiparesis secondary to stroke, brain injury, and cerebral palsy.

Materials and Methods: This study reports on qualitative findings from a study, involving seven adults (two female; mean age: 65 ± 8 years) and three adolescents (one female; mean age: 15 ± 2 years) with hemiparesis, evaluating the feasibility and clinical effectiveness of a home-based custom-designed virtual rehabilitation system over 2 months. Thematic analysis was used to analyze qualitative data from therapists’ weekly telephone interview notes, research team documentation regarding issues raised during technical support interactions, and the transcript of a poststudy debriefing session involving research team members and collaborators.

Results: Qualitative themes that emerged suggested that system use was associated with three key factors as follows: (1) the technology itself (e.g., characteristics of the games and their clinical implications, system accessibility, and hardware and software design); (2) communication processes (e.g., preferences and effectiveness of methods used during the study); and (3) knowledge and training of participants and therapists on the technology’s use (e.g., familiarity with Facebook, time required to gain competence with the system, and need for clinical observations during remote therapy). Strategies to address these factors are proposed.

Conclusion: Lessons learned from this study can inform future clinical and implementation research using commercial videogames and social media platforms. The capacity to track compensatory movements, clinical considerations in game selection, the provision of kinematic and treatment progress reports to participants, and effective communication and training for therapists and participants may enhance research success, system usability, and adoption.

 

via Application of Commercial Games for Home-Based Rehabilitation for People with Hemiparesis: Challenges and Lessons Learned | Games for Health Journal

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[Abstract] Modelling and control of a novel walker robot for post-stroke gait rehabilitation

Abstract:

In this paper, a novel walker robot is proposed for post-stroke gait rehabilitation. It consists of an omni-directional mobile platform which provides high mobility in horizontal motion, a linear motor that moves in vertical direction to support the body weight of a patient and a 6-axis force/torque sensor to measure interaction force/torque between the robot and patient. The proposed novel walker robot improves the mobility of pelvis so it can provide more natural gait patterns in rehabilitation. This paper analytically derives the kinematic and dynamic models of the novel walker robot. Simulation results are given to validate the proposed kinematic and dynamic models.

I. Introduction

Stroke is one of the leading causes of death overall the world [1]. According to a report from the American Heart Association, around 8 million population experience stroke onset every year worldwide [2]. It remains many sequalae including a pathological walking pattern. Impaired walking function refrains stroke survivors from not only activities of daily living but also social participation, which causes poststroke depression in stroke survivors [3]. Unfortunately, the depressed mood also negatively influences on the recovery of daily functions [4]–[6]. Moreover, decreased mobility is associated with other diseases such as obesity which leads to comorbidity then raise the possibility to get recurrent strokes [7], [8]. This might become a vicious circle and form a huge economic burden for governments [9].

via Modelling and control of a novel walker robot for post-stroke gait rehabilitation – IEEE Conference Publication

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[ARTICLE] An Investigation of the Current Practice to Support Upper Limb Rehabilitation among Advanced Stroke Survivors – Full Text PDF

Abstract

Stroke rehabilitation helps one to relearn skills lost when a stroke affected part of the brain. Stroke rehabilitation programmes involving technology-assisted physical activities have been employed to complement the conventional practices. The success of such a program lies primarily on how well the current practices are understood, and translated onto the activities planned. This is a challenge to system designers, dealing with the technology, who may have limited access to stroke patients.
This paper addresses the issue by investigating the current rehabilitation practices conducted on stroke survivors. The methods involved interviewing the stroke rehabilitation practitioners, and observing how therapy sessions were conducted in a local rehabilitation centre.
The study findings revealed that conventional rather than technology-supported methods are still the dominant approach used for stroke rehabilitation. Paper and pencil techniques are still in practice for re-learning how to write among advanced stroke survivors. Similarly, activities with the early and intermediate groups at the rehabilitation centre have not been supported by any computer technology yet.
The feedback obtained from the practitioners could be used as a basis to design suitable technology-assisted programs especially for advanced stroke survivors in handwriting activities.

Full Text PDF

via An Investigation of the Current Practice to Support Upper Limb Rehabilitation among Advanced Stroke Survivors | Hafizha Musthafa | Indonesian Journal of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

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[WEB SITE] Virtual Reality for Stroke Rehabilitation

stroke rehabilitation

Researchers piloted a study to investigate the potential of using virtual reality (VR) training systems in stroke rehabilitation.

Following a stroke, survivors are often left with physical and mental disabilities. Nine out of ten stroke survivors are left with some degree of upper limb motor impairment, thus making it the most prevalent post-stroke disability suffered. Not only does stroke rehabilitation training need to be long-lasting, repetitive, task-specific and challenging, the training must also be motivating and intensive.

What is the Role of Virtual Reality?

Virtual reality (VR) is a relatively new approach to stroke rehabilitation that has shown to have moderate effectiveness in improving motor functions. VR can allow for embodied sensorimotor feedback where patients’ movements are reproduced in a virtual environment via motion capture technology. This enhanced VR experience has previously demonstrated an ability to increase patient motivation and stimulate neural circuits in the motor system to aid in functional recovery.

Can Virtual Reality Help with Stroke Rehabilitation?

In a pilot study published in the Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation, researchers in Switzerland investigated the potential use of a VR-based stroke rehabilitation training targeted to the upper motor limbs. The study’s main goal was to assess the training intensity (the number of repetitions divided by the number of minutes of active therapy) and rehabilitation dose (number of repetitions). They also examined VR-based training improvements in functional upper limb outcomes and the safety and tolerance of this technology.

Ten stroke patients with one-sided weakness were included in the study, utilizing the Mind Motion PRO VR-based motor rehabilitation system. The intervention consisted of two one-hour sessions per week for five weeks with a physical therapist to guide the tasks according to the patient’s needs and abilities. Assessments were conducted at baseline (prior to training), post-treatment, and at a four-week follow-up. The participants engaged in VR treatment exercises that stimulated shoulder, elbow, forearm, and wrist movements at varying difficulties through game-like scenario tasks that included pointing, reaching, and grabbing objects in virtual space.

How Effective was the Virtual Reality Therapy?

All ten of the study’s participants completed the full ten training sessions in the treatment. The study found that the median duration of training increased by approximately ten minutes and the median effective training time (number of minutes that the participants actively trained, excluding breaks) per session doubled by the last session of the intervention. The intensity of the training (number of goal-directed movements per minute of effective training time) progressively increased from the first to last training session.

Secondarily, the study evaluated upper limb function, active range of motion and muscle strength, which all showed an increase from baseline. No adverse events were reported and pain and stress levels were low throughout the treatment, thus indicating that VR treatment is well tolerated. Lastly, the participants showed a high degree of concentration and comfort with the movements and expressed interest in continuing the training after the ten sessions, suggesting a high level of adherence and motivation for VR treatment – a key component to stroke rehabilitation treatment outcomes.

Overall, this pilot study demonstrated the ability of VR-based treatment to provide efficient training sessions, as the efficiency rate (relation between time of therapy session and time in active therapy) was 86.3%, which is higher than conventional therapies. The study supports the potential for VR-based intervention as stroke rehabilitation therapy to improve functional and motor outcomes. This should be further explored in future studies that incorporate control groups, a larger sample size, stratified groups and more intensive interventions with a variety of motor assessments.

Written by Maggie Leung, PharmD

Reference: Perez-Marcos, D., Chevalley, O., Schmidlin, T., Garipelli, G., Serino, A., Vuadens, P., . . . Millán, J. D. (2017). Increasing upper limb training intensity in chronic stroke using embodied virtual reality: a pilot study. Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation,14(1). doi:10.1186/s12984-017-0328-9

via Virtual Reality for Stroke Rehabilitation – Medical News Bulletin | Health News and Medical Research

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[Abstract+References] Does Stroke Rehabilitation Really Matter? Part A: Proportional Stroke Recovery in the Rat

Abstract

Background. In human upper-limb stroke, initial level of functional impairment or corticospinal tract injury can accurately predict the degree of poststroke recovery, independent of rehabilitation practices. This proportional recovery rule implies that current rehabilitation practices may play little or no role in brain repair, with recovery largely a result of spontaneous biological recovery processes.

Objective. The present study sought to determine if similar biomarkers predict recovery of poststroke function in rats, indicating that an endogenous biological recovery process might be preserved across mammalian species.

Methods. Using a cohort of 593 male Sprague-Dawley rats, we predicted poststroke change in pellet retrieval in the Montoya staircase-reaching task based on initial impairment alone. Stratification of the sample into “fitters” and “nonfitters” of the proportional recovery rule using hierarchical cluster analysis allowed identification of distinguishing characteristics of these subgroups.

Results. Approximately 30% of subjects were identified as fitters of the rule. These rats showed recovery in proportion to their initial level of impairment of 66% (95% CI = 62%-70%). This interval overlaps with those of multiple human clinical trials. A number of variables, including less severe infarct volumes and initial poststroke impairments distinguished fitters of the rule from nonfitters.

Conclusions. These findings suggest that proportional recovery is a cross-species phenomenon that can be used to uncover biological mechanisms contributing to stroke recovery.

1. Prabhakaran, S, Zarahn, E, Riley, C. Inter-individual variability in the capacity for motor recovery after ischemic stroke. Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2008;22:6471Google ScholarLink
2. Winters, C, van Wegen, EEH, Daffertshofer, A, Kwakkel, G. Generalizability of the proportional recovery model for the upper extremity after an ischemic stroke. Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2015;29:614622Google ScholarLinkISI
3. Byblow, WD, Stinear, CM, Barber, PA, Petoe, MA, Ackerley, SJ. Proportional recovery after stroke depends on corticomotor integrity. Ann Neurol. 2015;78:848859Google ScholarCrossrefMedline
4. Feng, W, Wang, J, Chhatbar, PY. Corticospinal tract lesion load: an imaging biomarker for stroke motor outcomes. Ann Neurol. 2015;78:860870Google ScholarCrossrefMedline
5. Stinear, CM, Byblow, WD, Ackerley, SJ, Smith, MC, Borges, VM, Barber, PA. Proportional motor recovery after stroke: implications for trial design. Stroke. 2017;48:795798Google ScholarCrossrefMedline
6. Smith, MC, Byblow, WD, Barber, PA, Stinear, CM. Proportional recovery from lower limb motor impairment after stroke. Stroke. 2017;48:14001403Google ScholarCrossrefMedline
7. Winters, C, van Wegen, EEH, Daffertshofer, A, Kwakkel, G. Generalizability of the maximum proportional recovery rule to visuospatial neglect early poststroke. Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2017;31:334342Google ScholarLink
8. Lazar, RM, Minzer, B, Antoniello, D, Festa, JR, Krakauer, JW, Marshall, RS. Improvement in aphasia scores after stroke is well predicted by initial severity. Stroke. 2010;41:14851488Google ScholarCrossrefMedline
9. Krakauer, JW, Marshall, RS. The proportional recovery rule for stroke revisited. Ann Neurol. 2015;78:845847Google ScholarCrossrefMedline
10. Gladstone, DJ, Danells, CJ, Black, SE. The Fugl-Meyer assessment of motor recovery after stroke: a critical review of its measurement properties. Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2002;16:232240Google ScholarLink
11. Carmichael, ST. Rodent models of focal stroke: size, mechanism, and purpose. NeuroRx. 2005;2:396409Google ScholarCrossrefMedline

via Does Stroke Rehabilitation Really Matter? Part A: Proportional Stroke Recovery in the RatNeurorehabilitation and Neural Repair – Matthew Strider Jeffers, Sudhir Karthikeyan, Dale Corbett, 2018

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[ARTICLE] Effectiveness of a multimodal exercise rehabilitation program on walking capacity and functionality after a stroke – Full Text

Abstract

The aim of this study was to determine the effectiveness of a 12-week multimodal exercise rehabilitation program on walking speed, walking ability and activities of daily living (ADLs) among people who had suffered a stroke. Thirty-one stroke survivors who had completed a conventional rehabilitation program voluntarily participated in the study. Twenty-six participants completed the multimodal exercise rehabilitation program (2 days/wk, 1 hr/session). Physical outcome measures were: walking speed (10-m walking test), walking ability (6-min walking test and functional ambulation classification) and ADLs (Barthel Index). The program consisted on: aerobic exercise; task oriented exercises; balance and postural tonic activities; and stretching. Participants also followed a program of progressive ambulation at home. They were evaluated at baseline, postintervention and at the end of a 6-month follow-up period. After the intervention there were significant improvements in all outcomes measures that were maintained 6 months later. Comfortable and fast walking speed increased an average of 0.16 and 0.40 m/sec, respectively. The walking distance in the 6-min walking test increased an average of 59.8 m. At the end of the intervention, participants had achieved independent ambulation both indoors and outdoors. In ADLs, 40% were independent at baseline vs. 64% at the end of the intervention. Our study demonstrates that a multimodal exercise rehabilitation program adapted to stroke survivors has benefits on walking speed, walking ability and independence in ADLs.
Keywords: Exercise, Physical activity, Stroke rehabilitation, Walking speed, Activities of daily living

INTRODUCTION

As life expectancy increases, a larger number of persons may suffer from stroke. Stroke mortality rates have decreased, but the burden of stroke is increasing in terms of stroke survivors per year, correlated deaths and disability-adjusted life-years lost. These deficiencies are further highlighted by a trend towards more strokes in younger people (Feigin et al., 2014). Stroke not only causes permanent neurological deficits, but also a profound degradation of physical condition, which worsens disability and increases cardiovascular risk. Stroke survivors are likely to suffer functional decline due to reduction of aerobic capacity. This may involve further secondary complications such as progressive muscular atrophy, osteoporosis, peripheral circulation worsening and increased cardiovascular risk (Ivey et al., 2006). All these factors cause increased dependency, need of assistance from third parties in activities of daily living (ADLs) and a restriction on participation that can have a profound psychosocial impact (Carod-Artal and Egido, 2009). Gait capacity is one of the main priorities of persons who have suffered a stroke, but is often limited due to the high energy demands of hemiplegic gait and the poor physical condition of these persons (Ivey et al., 2006). Gait speed is a commonly used measure in patients who have suffered a stroke to differentiate the functional capacity to walk indoors or outdoors. Gait speed has been classified as: allowing indoor ambulation (<0.4 m/sec), limited outdoor ambulation (0.4–0.8 m/sec), and outdoor functional ambulation (>0.8 m/sec) (Perry et al., 1995). Gait speed can also help to establish the functional prognosis of the patient. It has been stated that improvements in walking speed correlate with improved function and quality of life (QoL) (Schmid et al., 2007). It is essential to achieve a proper gait speed for outdoors functional ambulation.
Falls are common among stroke survivors and are associated with a worsening of disability and QoL. Balance is a complex process that involves the reception and integration of afferent inputs and the planning and execution of movement. Stroke can impact on different systems involved in postural control. Multifactorial falls risk assessment and management, combined with fitness programs, are effective in reducing risk of falls and fear of falling (Stroke Foundation of New Zealand and New Zealand Guidelines Group, 2010). Falls often occur when getting in and out of a chair (Brunt et al., 2002). The 2013 Cochrane review (Saunders et al., 2013) recommends the repetitive practice of sit-to-stand in order to promote an ergonomic and automatic pattern of this movement. Recent studies demonstrate that exercises that improve trunk stability and balance provide a solid base for body and leg movements that entail an improved gait in people affected by stroke (Sharma and Kaur, 2017). Conventional rehabilitation programs after stroke focus on the subacute period. The aim is to recover basic ADLs, but they do not provide maintenance exercises to provide long-term health gains. Cardiac monitoring demonstrates that conventional physiotherapy exercises do not regularly provide adequate exercise intensity to modify the physical deconditioning, nor sufficient exercise repetition to improve motor learning (Ivey et al., 2006). Therapeutic physical exercise to optimize function, physical condition and cardiovascular health after a stroke is an emerging field within neurorehabilitation (Teasell et al., 2009). The wide range of difficulties experienced by stroke survivors justify the need to explore rehabilitation programs designed to promote an overall improvement and to maintain the gains obtained after rehabilitation programs. Numerous studies have demonstrated the efficacy of aerobic exercise (Saunders et al., 2016), but there are few data on the long term effects of multimodal programs that incorporate aerobic exercise, complemented by task-oriented training and balance exercises. Consequently, the aim of this study is to analyse the impact of a multimodal exercise rehabilitation program tailored to stroke survivors on walking speed, walking ability and ADLs. […]

Continue —> Effectiveness of a multimodal exercise rehabilitation program on walking capacity and functionality after a stroke

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[ARTICLE] Adaptive hybrid robotic system for rehabilitation of reaching movement after a brain injury: a usability study – Full Text

Abstract

Background

Brain injury survivors often present upper-limb motor impairment affecting the execution of functional activities such as reaching. A currently active research line seeking to maximize upper-limb motor recovery after a brain injury, deals with the combined use of functional electrical stimulation (FES) and mechanical supporting devices, in what has been previously termed hybrid robotic systems. This study evaluates from the technical and clinical perspectives the usability of an integrated hybrid robotic system for the rehabilitation of upper-limb reaching movements after a brain lesion affecting the motor function.

Methods

The presented system is comprised of four main components. The hybrid assistance is given by a passive exoskeleton to support the arm weight against gravity and a functional electrical stimulation device to assist the execution of the reaching task. The feedback error learning (FEL) controller was implemented to adjust the intensity of the electrical stimuli delivered on target muscles according to the performance of the users. This control strategy is based on a proportional-integral-derivative feedback controller and an artificial neural network as the feedforward controller. Two experiments were carried out in this evaluation. First, the technical viability and the performance of the implemented FEL controller was evaluated in healthy subjects (N = 12). Second, a small cohort of patients with a brain injury (N = 4) participated in two experimental session to evaluate the system performance. Also, the overall satisfaction and emotional response of the users after they used the system was assessed.

Results

In the experiment with healthy subjects, a significant reduction of the tracking error was found during the execution of reaching movements. In the experiment with patients, a decreasing trend of the error trajectory was found together with an increasing trend in the task performance as the movement was repeated. Brain injury patients expressed a great acceptance in using the system as a rehabilitation tool.

Conclusions

The study demonstrates the technical feasibility of using the hybrid robotic system for reaching rehabilitation. Patients’ reports on the received intervention reveal a great satisfaction and acceptance of the hybrid robotic system.

Background

Upper limb hemiparesis is one of the most common consequences after a brain injury accident [1]. This motor impairment has an adverse impact on the quality of life of survivors since it hinders the execution of activities of daily living. From the rehabilitation perspective, it is widely accepted that high-intensity and repetitive task-specific practice is the most effective principle to promote motor recovery after a brain injury [12]. However, traditional rehabilitation treatment offers a dose of movement repetition that is in most cases insufficient to facilitate neural reorganization [3]. In response to these current clinical shortcomings, there is a clear interest in alternative rehabilitation methods that improve the arm motor functionality of brain injury survivors.

Hybrid robotic systems for motor rehabilitation are a promising approach that combine the advantages of robotic support or assistive devices and functional electrical stimulation (FES) technologies to overcome their individual limitations and to offer more robust rehabilitation interventions [4]. Despite the potential benefits of using hybrid robotic systems for arm rehabilitation, a recent published review shows that only a few hybrid systems presented in the literature were tested with stroke patients [4]. Possible reasons could be the difficulties arising from the integration of both assistive technologies or the lack of integrated platforms that can be easily setup and used.

End-effector robotic devices combined with FES represent the most typical hybrid systems used to train reaching tasks under constrained conditions [567]. With these systems, patients’ forearms are typically restricted to the horizontal plane to isolate the training of the elbow extension movement. The main advantage of this approach is the simplicity of the setup, with only 1 Degree of Freedom (DoF). However, to maximize the treatment’s outcomes and achieve functional improvement it is necessary to train actions with higher range of motion (> 1 DoF) and functional connotations [89]. Yet, the complexity for driving a successful movement execution in such scenarios requires the implementation of a robust and reliable FES controller.

The appropriate design and implementation of FES controllers play a key role to achieve stable and robust motion control in hybrid robotic systems. The control strategy must be able to drive all the necessary joints to realize the desired movement, and compensate any disturbances to the motion, i.e. muscle fatigue onset as well as the strong nonlinear and time-varying response of the musculoskeletal system to FES [1011]. Consequently, open-loop and simple feedback controllers (e.g. proportional-integral-derivative -PID-) are not robust enough to cope with these disturbances [812]. Meadmore et al. presented a more suitable hybrid robotic system for functional rehabilitation scenarios [13]. They implemented a model-based iterative learning controller (ILC) that adjusts the FES intensity based on the tracking error of the previously executed movement (see [1314] for a detail description of the system). This iterative adjustment allows compensating for disturbances caused by FES. Although this approach addresses some of the issues regarding motion control with FES, it requires a detailed mathematical description of the musculoskeletal system to work properly. In this context, unmodeled dynamics and the linearization of the model can reduce the robustness of the controller performance. Also, the identification of the model’s parameters is complex and time consuming, which limits its applicability in clinical settings [1112].

The Feedback Error Learning (FEL) scheme proposed by Kawato [15] can be considered as an alternative to ILC. This scheme was developed to describe how the central nervous system acquires an internal model of the body to improve the motor control. Under this scheme, the motor control command of a feedback controller is used to train a feedforward controller to learn implicitly the inverse dynamics of the controlled system on-line (i.e. the arm). Complementary, this on-line learning procedure also allows the controller to adapt and compensate for disturbances. In contrast with the ILC, the main advantage of this strategy is that the controller does not require an explicit model of the controlled system to work correctly and that it can directly learn the non-linear characteristic of the controlled system. Therefore, using the FEL control strategy to control a hybrid robotic system can simplify the setup of the system considerably, which makes easier to deploy it in clinical settings as well as personalize its response according to each patient’s musculoskeletal characteristics and movement capabilities. The FEL has been used previously to control the wrist [16] and the lower limb [17] motion with FES in healthy subjects; but it has not been tested on brain injury patients. In a previous pilot study, we partially showed the suitability of the FEL scheme in hybrid robotic systems for reaching rehabilitation with healthy subjects [18]. However, a rigorous and robust analysis has not been presented neither this concept has not been tested with motor impaired patients.

The main objective of this study is to verify the usability of a fully integrated hybrid robotic system based on an FEL scheme for rehabilitation of reaching movement in brain injury patients. To attain such objective two-step experimentation was followed. The first part consists of demonstrating the technical viability and learning capability of the developed FEL controller to drive the execution of a coordinated shoulder-elbow joint movement. The second part consists of testing the usability of the platform with brain injury patients in a more realistic rehabilitation scenario. For this purpose, we assessed the patients’ performance and overall satisfaction and emotional response after using the system.

Methods

In this section, we present the hybrid robotic system for the rehabilitation of reaching movement in patients with a brain injury. The system focuses on aiding users to move their paretic arm towards specific distal directions in the space. During the execution of the reaching task, the FEL controller adjusts the intensities of the electrical stimuli delivered to target muscles in order to aid the subjects in tracking accurately the target paths.

Description of the hybrid rehabilitation platform for reaching rehabilitation

Figure 1 shows the general overview of the developed platform. This rehabilitation platform is composed of four main components: the hybrid assistive device (upper limb exoskeleton + FES device); the high-level controller (HLC); the visual feedback and; the user interface. […]

Fig. 1 a General overview of the presented hybrid robotic platform for reaching rehabilitation. bVisual feedback provided to the users. The green ball represents the actual arm position, the blue cross is the reference trajectory, the initial and final position are represented by the gray ball and red square respectively. c Interface for system configuration

Source: Adaptive hybrid robotic system for rehabilitation of reaching movement after a brain injury: a usability study | Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation | Full Text

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[Abstract] Motor Imagery Training After Stroke: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Abstract

Background and Purpose: A number of studies have suggested that imagery training (motor imagery [MI]) has value for improving motor function in persons with neurologic conditions. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the available literature related to efficacy of MI in the recovery of individuals after stroke.

Methods: We searched the following databases: PubMed, Web of Knowledge, Scopus, Cochrane, and PEDro. Two reviewers independently selected clinical trials that investigated the effect of MI on outcomes commonly investigated in studies of stroke recovery. Quality and risk of bias of each study were assessed.

Results: Of the 1156 articles found, 32 articles were included. There was a high heterogeneity of protocols among studies. Most studies showed benefits of MI, albeit with a large proportion of low-quality studies. The meta-analysis of all studies, regardless of quality, revealed significant differences on overall analysis for outcomes related to balance, lower limb/gait, and upper limb. However, when only high-quality studies were included, no significant difference was found. On subgroup analyses, MI was associated with balance gains on the Functional Reach Test and improved performance on the Timed Up and Go, gait speed, Action Research Arm Test, and the Fugl-Meyer Upper Limb subscale.

Discussion and Conclusions: Our review reported a high heterogeneity in methodological quality of the studies and conflicting results. More high-quality studies and greater standardization of interventions are needed to determine the value of MI for persons with stroke.

Video Abstract available for more insights from the authors (see Video, Supplemental Digital Content 1, http://links.lww.com/JNPT/A188).

Source: Motor Imagery Training After Stroke: A Systematic Review an… : Journal of Neurologic Physical Therapy

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[ARTICLE] SITAR: a system for independent task-oriented assessment and rehabilitation

Over recent years, task-oriented training has emerged as a dominant approach in neurorehabilitation. This article presents a novel, sensor-based system for independent task-oriented assessment and rehabilitation (SITAR) of the upper limb.

The SITAR is an ecosystem of interactive devices including a touch and force–sensitive tabletop and a set of intelligent objects enabling functional interaction. In contrast to most existing sensor-based systems, SITAR provides natural training of visuomotor coordination through collocated visual and haptic workspaces alongside multimodal feedback, facilitating learning and its transfer to real tasks. We illustrate the possibilities offered by the SITAR for sensorimotor assessment and therapy through pilot assessment and usability studies.

The pilot data from the assessment study demonstrates how the system can be used to assess different aspects of upper limb reaching, pick-and-place and sensory tactile resolution tasks. The pilot usability study indicates that patients are able to train arm-reaching movements independently using the SITAR with minimal involvement of the therapist and that they were motivated to pursue the SITAR-based therapy.

SITAR is a versatile, non-robotic tool that can be used to implement a range of therapeutic exercises and assessments for different types of patients, which is particularly well-suited for task-oriented training.

The increasing demand for intense, task-specific neurorehabilitation following neurological conditions such as stroke and spinal cord injury has stimulated extensive research into rehabilitation technology over the last two decades.1,2 In particular, robotic devices have been developed to deliver a high dose of engaging repetitive therapy in a controlled manner, decrease the therapist’s workload and facilitate learning. Current evidence from clinical interventions using these rehabilitation robots generally show results comparable to intensity-matched, conventional, one-to-one training with a therapist.35 Assuming the correct movements are being trained, the primary factor driving this recovery appears to be the intensity of voluntary practice during robotic therapy rather than any other factor such as physical assistance required.6,7 Moreover, most existing robotic devices to train the upper limb (UL) tend to be bulky and expensive, raising further questions on the use of complex, motorised systems for neurorehabilitation.

Recently, simpler, non-actuated devices, equipped with sensors to measure patients’ movement or interaction, have been designed to provide performance feedback, motivation and coaching during training.812 Research in haptics13,14 and human motor control15,16 has shown how visual, auditory and haptic feedback can be used to induce learning of a skill in a virtual or real dynamic environment. For example, simple force sensors (or even electromyography) can be used to infer motion control17and provide feedback on the required and actual performances, which can allow subjects to learn a desired task. Therefore, an appropriate therapy regime using passive devices that provide essential and engaging feedback can enhance learning of improved arm and hand use.

Such passive sensor-based systems can be used for both impairment-based training (e.g. gripAble18) and task-oriented training (ToT) (e.g. AutoCITE8,9, ReJoyce11). ToT views the patient as an active problem-solver, focusing rehabilitation on the acquisition of skills for performance of meaningful and relevant tasks rather than on isolated remediation of impairments.19,20 ToT has proven to be beneficial for participants and is currently considered as a dominant and effective approach for training.20,21

Sensor-based systems are ideal for delivering task-oriented therapy in an automated and engaging fashion. For instance, the AutoCITE system is a workstation containing various instrumented devices for training some of the tasks used in constraint-induced movement therapy.8 The ReJoyce uses a passive manipulandum with a composite instrumented object having various functionally shaped components to allow sensing and training of gross and fine hand functions.11 Timmermans et al.22reported how stroke survivors can carry out ToT by using objects on a tabletop with inertial measurement units (IMU) to record their movement. However, this system does not include force sensors, critical in assessing motor function.

In all these systems, subjects perform tasks such as reach or object manipulation at the tabletop level, while receiving visual feedback from a monitor placed in front of them. This dislocation of the visual and haptic workspaces may affect the transfer of skills learned in this virtual environment to real-world tasks. Furthermore, there is little work on using these systems for the quantitative task-oriented assessment of functional tasks. One exception to this is the ReJoyce arm and hand function test (RAHFT)23 to quantitatively assess arm and hand function. However, the RAHFT primarily focuses on range-of-movement in different arm and hand functions and does not assess the movement quality, which is essential for skilled action.2428

To address these limitations, this article introduces a novel, sensor-based System for Independent Task-Oriented Assessment and Rehabilitation (SITAR). The SITAR consists of an ecosystem of different modular devices capable of interacting with each other to provide an engaging interface with appropriate real-world context for both training and assessment of UL. The current realisation of the SITAR is an interactive tabletop with visual display as well as touch and force sensing capabilities and a set of intelligent objects. This system provides direct interaction with collocation of visual and haptic workspaces and a rich multisensory feedback through a mixed reality environment for neurorehabilitation.

The primary aim of this study is to present the SITAR concept, the current realisation of the system, together with preliminary data demonstrating the SITAR’s capabilities for UL assessment and training. The following section introduces the SITAR concept, providing the motivation and rationale for its design and specifications. Subsequently, we describe the current realisation of the SITAR, its different components and their capabilities. Finally, preliminary data from two pilot clinical studies are presented, which demonstrate the SITAR’s functionalities for ToT and assessment of the UL. […]

Continue —> SITAR: a system for independent task-oriented assessment and rehabilitation Journal of Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies Engineering – Asif Hussain, Sivakumar Balasubramanian, Nick Roach, Julius Klein, Nathanael Jarrassé, Michael Mace, Ann David, Sarah Guy, Etienne Burdet, 2017

Figure 1. The SITAR concept with (a) the interactive table-top alongside some examples of intelligent objects developed including (b) iJar to train bimanual control, (c) iPen for drawing, and (d) iBox for manipulation and pick-and-place.

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