Posts Tagged stroke rehabilitation

[ARTICLE] Mechanics and energetics of post-stroke walking aided by a powered ankle exoskeleton with speed-adaptive myoelectric control – Full Text

Abstract

Background

Ankle exoskeletons offer a promising opportunity to offset mechanical deficits after stroke by applying the needed torque at the paretic ankle. Because joint torque is related to gait speed, it is important to consider the user’s gait speed when determining the magnitude of assistive joint torque. We developed and tested a novel exoskeleton controller for delivering propulsive assistance which modulates exoskeleton torque magnitude based on both soleus muscle activity and walking speed. The purpose of this research is to assess the impact of the resulting exoskeleton assistance on post-stroke walking performance across a range of walking speeds.

Methods

Six participants with stroke walked with and without assistance applied to a powered ankle exoskeleton on the paretic limb. Walking speed started at 60% of their comfortable overground speed and was increased each minute (n00, n01, n02, etc.). We measured lower limb joint and limb powers, metabolic cost of transport, paretic and non-paretic limb propulsion, and trailing limb angle.

Results

Exoskeleton assistance increased with walking speed, verifying the speed-adaptive nature of the controller. Both paretic ankle joint power and total limb power increased significantly with exoskeleton assistance at six walking speeds (n00, n01, n02, n03, n04, n05). Despite these joint- and limb-level benefits associated with exoskeleton assistance, no subject averaged metabolic benefits were evident when compared to the unassisted condition. Both paretic trailing limb angle and integrated anterior paretic ground reaction forces were reduced with assistance applied as compared to no assistance at four speeds (n00, n01, n02, n03).

Conclusions

Our results suggest that despite appropriate scaling of ankle assistance by the exoskeleton controller, suboptimal limb posture limited the conversion of exoskeleton assistance into forward propulsion. Future studies could include biofeedback or verbal cues to guide users into limb configurations that encourage the conversion of mechanical power at the ankle to forward propulsion.

Trial registration

N/A.

Background

Walking after a stroke is more metabolically expensive, leading to rapid exhaustion, limited mobility, and reduced physical activity [1]. Hemiparetic walking is slow and asymmetric compared to unimpaired gait. Preferred walking speeds following stroke range between < 0.2 m s− 1 and ~ 0.8 m s− 1 [2] compared to ~ 1.4 m s− 1 in unimpaired adults, and large interlimb asymmetry has been documented in ankle joint power output [34]. The ankle plantarflexors are responsible for up to 50% of the total positive work needed to maintain forward gait [56]; therefore, weakness of the paretic plantarflexors is especially debilitating, and as a result, the paretic ankle is often a specific target of stroke rehabilitation [78910]. In recent years, ankle exoskeletons have emerged as a technology capable of improving ankle power output by applying torque at the ankle joint during walking in clinical populations [78] and healthy controls [11121314]. Myoelectric exoskeletons offer a user-controlled approach to stroke rehabilitation by measuring and adapting to changes in the user’s soleus electromyography (EMG) when generating torque profiles applied at the ankle [15]. For example, a proportional myoelectric ankle exoskeleton was shown to increase the paretic plantarflexion moment for persons post-stroke walking at 75% of their comfortable overground (OVG) speed [8]; despite these improvements, assistance did not reduce the metabolic cost of walking or improve percent paretic propulsion. The authors suggested exoskeleton performance could be limited because the walking speed was restricted to a pace at which exoskeleton assistance was not needed.

Exoskeleton design for improved function following a stroke would benefit from understanding the interaction among exoskeleton assistance, changes in walking speed, and measured walking performance. Increases in walking speed post-stroke are associated with improvements in forward propulsion and propulsion symmetry [16], trailing limb posture [1718], step length symmetries [1719], and greater walking economies [1719]. This suggests that assistive technologies need to account for variability in walking speeds to further improve post-stroke walking outcomes. However, research to date has evaluated exoskeleton performance at only one walking speed, typically set to either the participant’s comfortable OVG speed or a speed below this value [78]. At constant speeds, ankle exoskeletons have been shown to improve total ankle power in both healthy controls [11] and persons post-stroke [8], suggesting the joint powers and joint power symmetries could be improved by exoskeleton technology. Additionally, an exosuit applying assistance to the ankle was able to improve paretic propulsion and metabolic cost in persons post-stroke walking at their comfortable OVG speed [7]. Assessing the impact of exoskeleton assistance on walking performance across a range of speeds is the next logical step toward developing exoskeleton intervention strategies targeted at improving walking performance and quality of life for millions of persons post-stroke.

In order to assess the impact of exoskeleton assistance across a range of walking speeds in persons post-stroke, we developed a novel, speed-adaptive exoskeleton controller that automatically modulates the magnitude of ankle torque with changes in walking speed and soleus EMG. We hypothesized that: 1) Our novel speed-adaptive controller will scale exoskeleton assistance with increases in walking speed as intended. 2) Exoskeleton assistance will lead to increases in total average net paretic ankle power and limb power at all walking speeds. 3) Exoskeleton assistance will lead to metabolic benefits associated with improved paretic average net ankle and limb powers.

Methods

Exoskeleton hardware

We implemented an exoskeleton emulator comprised of a powerful off-board actuation and control system, a flexible Bowden cable transmission, and a lightweight exoskeleton end effector [20]. The exoskeleton end effector includes shank and foot carbon fiber components custom fitted to participants and hinged at the ankle. The desired exoskeleton torque profile was applied by a benchtop motor (Baldor Electric Co, USA) to the carbon-fiber ankle exoskeleton through a Bowden-cable transmission system. An inline tensile load cell (DCE-2500 N, LCM Systems, Newport, UK) was used to confirm the force transmitted by the exoskeleton emulator during exoskeleton assistance.

Speed-adaptive proportional myoelectric exoskeleton controller

Our exoskeleton controller alters the timing and magnitude of assistance with the user’s soleus EMG signal and walking speed (Fig. 1). The exoskeleton torque is determined from Eq. 1, in which participant mass (mparticipant) is constant across speeds, treadmill speed (V) is measured in real-time, the speed gain (Gspeed) is constant for all subjects and across speeds, the adaptive gain (Gadp) is constant for a gait cycle and calculated anew for each gait cycle, and the force-gated and normalized EMG (EMGGRFgated) is a continuously changing variable.

τexo (t)=mparticipant×V×Gspeed×Gadp×EMGGRFgatedτexo (t)=mparticipant×V×Gspeed×Gadp×EMGGRFgated
(1)
Fig. 1
Fig. 1

Novel speed-adaptive myoelectric exoskeleton controller measures and adapts to users’ soleus EMG signal as well as their walking speed in order to generate the exoskeleton torque profile. Raw soleus EMG signal is filtered and rectified to create an EMG envelope, and the created EMG envelope is then gated by anterior GRFs to ensure assistance is only applied during forward propulsion. The adaptive EMG gain is calculated as a moving average of peak force-gated EMG from the last five paretic gait cycles. The pre-speed gain control signal is the product of the force-gated EMG and the adaptive EMG gain. The speed gain is determined using real-time walking speed and computed as 25% of the maximum biological plantarflexion torque at that given walking speed. Exoskeleton torque is the result of multiplying the speed gain with the pre-speed gain control signal

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Continue —> Mechanics and energetics of post-stroke walking aided by a powered ankle exoskeleton with speed-adaptive myoelectric control | Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation | Full Text

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[Abstract] Virtual Reality in Upper Extremity Rehabilitation of Stroke Patients: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Virtual reality game system is one of novel approaches, which can improve hemiplegic extremity functions of stroke patients. We aimed to evaluate the effect of the Microsoft Xbox 360 Kinect video game system on upper limb motor functions for subacute stroke patients.

METHODS:

The study included 42 stroke patients of which 35 (19 Virtual reality group, 16 control group) completed the study. All patients received 60 minutes of conventional therapy for upper extremity, 5 times per-week for 4 weeks. Virtual reality group additionally received Xbox Kinect game system 30 minutes per-day. Patients were evaluated prior to the rehabilitation and at the end of 4 weeks. Box&Block Test, Functional independence measure self-care score, Brunnstorm stage and Fugl-Meyer upper extremity motor function scale were used as outcome measures.

RESULTS:

The Brunnstrom stages and the scores on the Fugl-Meyer upper extremity, Box&Block Test and Functional independence measure improved significantly from baseline to post-treatment in both the experimental and the control groups. The Brunnstrom stage-upper extremity and Box&Block Test gain for the experimental group were significantly higher compared to the control group, while the Brunnstrom stage-hand, the Functional independence measure gain and Fugl-Meyer gain were similar between the groups.

CONCLUSIONS:

We found evidence that kinect-based game system in addition to conventional therapy may have supplemental benefit for stroke patients. However, for virtual reality game systems to enter the routine practice of stroke rehabilitation, randomized controlled clinical trials with longer follow-up periods and larger sample sizes are needed especially to determine an optimal duration and intensity of the treatment.

via https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30193810

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[Abstract] Using Vision to Study Poststroke Recovery and Test Hypotheses About Neurorehabilitation

Approximately one-third of stroke patients suffer visual field impairment as a result of their strokes. However, studies using the visual pathway as a paradigm for studying poststroke recovery are limited. In this article, we propose that the visual pathway has many features that make it an excellent model system for studying poststroke neuroplasticity and assessing the efficacy of therapeutic interventions. First, the functional anatomy of the visual pathway is well characterized, which makes it well suited for functional neuroimaging studies of poststroke recovery. Second, there are multiple highly standardized and clinically available diagnostic tools and outcome measures that can be used to assess visual function in stroke patients. Finally, as a sensory modality, the assessment of vision is arguably less likely to be affected by confounding factors such as functional compensation and patient motivation. Given these advantages, and the general similarities between poststroke visual field recovery and recovery in other functional domains, future neurorehabilitation studies should consider using the visual pathway to better understand the physiology of neurorecovery and test potential therapeutics.

via Using Vision to Study Poststroke Recovery and Test Hypotheses About Neurorehabilitation – Ania Busza, Colleen L. Schneider, Zoë R. Williams, Bradford Z. Mahon, Bogachan Sahin, 2019

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[Abstract] Mental practice for upper limb motor restoration after stroke: an updated meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Stroke is a common refractory disease that may cause dysfunctions in the motor system. The study aimed to evaluate the effects of mental practice (MP) compared with other methods on upper limb motor restoration after stroke.

METHODS:

Eligible studies were identified from Pubmed, Embase, and The Cochrane Library. The study quality was assessed with the Cochrane risk assessment tool and heterogeneity test was performed using I2 statistic and Q test. Random- and fixed-effects models were used and data were reported as weighted mean difference (WMD) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). The publication bias was examined by Egger’s test and the sensitivity analysis was conducted by ignoring one literature at a time to observe whether this document could reverse the merged results.

RESULTS:

Total of 12 randomized controlled trials were identified. No evidence of publication bias was found. In a fixed-effect model, MP (experimental group) resulted in a significantly larger increase in Fugl-Meyer assessment (FMA) compared with other exercise methods (control group) (WMD = 2.0702, 95% CI: 1.2354-2.905, Z = 4.8606, P < 0.001). In a random-effect model, a significant pooled outcome was obtained for action research arm test (ARAT) (WMD = 4.0936, 95% CI: 1.9900-6.1971, Z = 3.8141, P < 0.001). Sensitivity analysis revealed that the merged WMDs of FMA and ARAT were not reversed.

CONCLUSIONS:

Mental practice is effective on upper limb motor restoration after stroke. It is recommended to treat with MP to improve the outcome of stroke.

 

via Mental practice for upper limb motor restoration after stroke: an updated meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. – PubMed – NCBI

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[Abstract] Electromyogram-Related Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation for Restoring Wrist and Hand Movement in Poststroke Hemiplegia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Background. Clinical trials have demonstrated some benefits of electromyogram-triggered/controlled neuromuscular electrical stimulation (EMG-NMES) on motor recovery of upper limb (UL) function in patients with stroke. However, EMG-NMES use in clinical practice is limited due to a lack of evidence supporting its effectiveness.

Objective. To perform a systematic review and meta-analysis to determine the effects of EMG-NMES on stroke UL recovery based on each of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF) domains.

Methods. Database searches identified clinical trials comparing the effect of EMG-NMES versus no treatment or another treatment on stroke upper extremity motor recovery. A meta-analysis was done for outcomes at each ICF domain (Body Structure and Function, Activity and Participation) at posttest (short-term) and follow-up periods. Subgroup analyses were conducted based on stroke chronicity (acute/subacute, chronic phases). Sensitivity analysis was done by removing studies rated as poor or fair quality (PEDro score <6).

Results. Twenty-six studies (782 patients) met the inclusion criteria. Fifty percent of them were considered to be of high quality. The meta-analysis showed that EMG-NMES has a robust short-term effect on improving UL motor impairment in the Body Structure and Function domain. No evidence was found in favor of EMG-NMES for the Activity and Participation domain. EMG-NMES had a stronger effect for each ICF domain in chronic (≥3 months) compared to acute/subacute phases.

Conclusion. EMG-NMES is effective in the short term in improving UL impairment in individuals with chronic stroke.

 

via Electromyogram-Related Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation for Restoring Wrist and Hand Movement in Poststroke Hemiplegia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis – Katia Monte-Silva, Daniele Piscitelli, Nahid Norouzi-Gheidari, Marc Aureli Pique Batalla, Philippe Archambault, Mindy F. Levin, 2019

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[Poster Abstract] GameBall: the development of a novel platform to provide enjoyable and affordable hand and arm rehabilitation following stroke

Purpose: Poor arm recovery post-stroke can lead to increased dependence, reduced quality of life, and is a strong predictor of lower psychological well being following stroke. Effective treatment interventions are characterised by repetitive practice. This repetitive nature can make doing exercises boring, and coupled with a lack of community resources ongoing rehabilitation of the arm is challenging. Therefore effective home-based stroke rehabilitation devices that are motivating and enjoyable to use, and affordable are needed.

First page of article

via GameBall: the development of a novel platform to provide enjoyable and affordable hand and arm rehabilitation following stroke – Physiotherapy

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[Abstract] The comparative efficacy of theta burst stimulation or functional electrical stimulation when combined with physical therapy after stroke: a randomized controlled trial

via The comparative efficacy of theta burst stimulation or functional electrical stimulation when combined with physical therapy after stroke: a randomized controlled trial – Fayaz Khan, Chaturbhuj Rathore, Mahesh Kate, Josy Joy, George Zachariah, P C Vincent, Ravi Prasad Varma, Kurupath Radhakrishnan, 2019

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[ARTICLE] The Use of Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation to Optimize Treadmill Training for Stroke Patients: A Randomized Controlled Trial – Full Text

Abstract

The use of functional music in gait training termed rhythmic auditory stimulation (RAS) and treadmill training (TT) have both been shown to be effective in stroke patients (SP). The combination of RAS and treadmill training (RAS-TT) has not been clinically evaluated to date. The aim of the study was to evaluate the efficacy of RAS-TT on functional gait in SP. The protocol followed the design of an explorative study with a rater-blinded three arm prospective randomized controlled parallel group design. Forty-five independently walking SP with a hemiparesis of the lower limb or an unsafe and asymmetrical walking pattern were recruited. RAS-TT was carried out over 4 weeks with TT and neurodevelopmental treatment based on Bobath approach (NDT) serving as control interventions. For RAS-TT functional music was adjusted individually while walking on the treadmill. Pre and post-assessments consisted of the fast gait speed test (FGS), a gait analysis with the locometre (LOC), 3 min walking time test (3MWT), and an instrumental evaluation of balance (IEB). Raters were blinded to group assignments. An analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was performed with affiliated measures from pre-assessment and time between stroke and start of study as covariates. Thirty-five participants (mean age 63.6 ± 8.6 years, mean time between stroke and start of study 42.1 ± 23.7 days) completed the study (11 RAS-TT, 13 TT, 11 NDT). Significant group differences occurred in the FGS for adjusted post-measures in gait velocity [F(2, 34) = 3.864, p = 0.032; partial η2 = 0.205] and cadence [F(2, 34)= 7.656, p = 0.002; partial η2 = 0.338]. Group contrasts showed significantly higher values for RAS-TT. Stride length results did not vary between the groups. LOC, 3MWT, and IEB did not indicate group differences. One patient was withdrawn from TT because of pain in one arm. The study provides first evidence for a higher efficacy of RAS-TT in comparison to the standard approaches TT and NDT in restoring functional gait in SP. The results support the implementation of functional music in neurological gait rehabilitation and its use in combination with treadmill training.

Introduction

About 60% of all stroke patients (SP) have difficulties with walking (). These are often caused by hemiparesis and/or sensory deficits of the lower extremity and/or trunk and are also due to uncoordinated movements. In addition to motor and sensory dysfunctions, symptoms such as spasticity, somato-sensory neglect, and cognitive malfunctioning may further impede walking. Thus, the restoration of gait is often a key focus of rehabilitation efforts, enhancing not only physical activity but also autonomy and participation in everyday life ().

Treadmill training (TT) with and without body weight support has been shown to improve functional gait in stroke patients effectively. A meta-analysis comparing 44 trials (n = 2,658 patients) revealed clear therapeutic effects on gait velocity and walking endurance, the latter only for TT with body weight support (). However, the improvements were identified only for independent walkers while patients who walked with assistance did not show an additional benefit from TT (). Lee’s work () provided evidence that TT with a high walking velocity at the beginning of training is more effective when compared to a stepwise increase in velocity.

Rhythmic-auditory stimulation (RAS) is defined as a therapeutic application of pulsed rhythmic or musical stimulation in order to improve gait or gait related aspects of movement (). It has been demonstrated that SP are able to synchronize their gait pattern to auditory stimulation using music with an embedded metronome (). This led to immediate improvements in stride time and stride length symmetry as well as weight bearing time on the paretic side, while EMG showed a more balanced muscular activation pattern between the paretic and non-paretic sides (). Training effects of RAS for SP were confirmed in a meta-analysis comparing 7 randomized controlled studies (n = 197) that showed improvements in functional gait performance (velocity, cadence, and stride length) (). This work also gave evidence, that a musical stimulation is more effective in improving gait velocity and cadence then the metronome (). Hayden et al. found that RAS became more effective when it is implemented earlier in the rehabilitation program. This provides evidence that the variation in time of the RAS-training during the rehabilitation process may affect the success of the treatment (). The application of RAS on the treadmill (RAS-TT) was evaluated over a 3-week training period by Park et al. In that study metronome stimulation was used for 9 patients with chronic stroke. The results were compared with a group of 10 patients performing over ground RAS walking training (). The RAS-TT group experienced greater improvements in gait velocity ().

While RAS and TT have proven to be effective for gait training in SP, the efficacy of its combination (RAS-TT) in the early course of rehabilitation in SP has not been investigated to date. Therefore, we hypothesized that RAS-TT in the early course of rehabilitation would improve the clinical efficacy of TT for SP. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the functional improvements of gait using a rehabilitation therapy combining RAS and TT in order to assess its clinical efficacy for patients suffering the aftermaths of a stroke.

Materials and methods

Design

The study protocol was approved by the state authorization association for medical issues in Brandenburg, that determined on the 21st of January 2010 that no formal ethics approval was required. Patients gave their informed consent according to the Helsinki declaration.

The study was designed as a prospective, single center three arm clinical study with parallel groups. We enrolled patients who performed either RAS on the treadmill (RAS-TT) or treadmill training alone (TT). A third group that received neurodevelopmental treatment following the Bobath approach (NDT) served as a control group. The patients were randomly assigned to the three training interventions by a person not involved in the study using a block randomization (software randlist). Allocations were placed in sealed sequentially numbered envelopes and were not opened until the actual study inclusion. Thus, the patients, the responsible doctor, the assessing physiotherapist, and study manager were not informed beforehand regarding the group assignment.

We included stroke patients with a hemiparesis of the lower limb (at least 1 muscle group with muscle strength grade <5 as defined by the British Medical Research Council) or with an unsafe and asymmetrical walking pattern (by assessment of a physiotherapist). The patients had to be able to walk independently with assistive devices if necessary for at least 3 min.

Criteria for exclusion were the following: significantly disturbed language perception (marked by either the Aachener Aphasietest or Token Test), cognitive impairment (Mini Mental Status Test <26), major depression or productive psychosis, adjustment disorder with a need for medical treatment, peripheral arterial occlusive disease with walking distance <100 m, and coronary heart disease (instable angina pectoris).

After having passed the diagnostics patients underwent a screening session on the treadmill. There they had to demonstrate a stable and sufficiently ergonomic gait. Candidates with insufficient quality of gait on the treadmill (multimodal neglect or spasticity as assessed by a physiotherapist) were postponed and re-screened every week (Figure (Figure11).

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Figure 1
Patient flow chart of study design. RAS-TT, rhythmic auditory stimulation on treadmill; TT, treadmill training; NDT, neurodevelopmental treatment.

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Continue —>  The Use of Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation to Optimize Treadmill Training for Stroke Patients: A Randomized Controlled Trial

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[Abstract + References] Training of Hand Rehabilitation Using Low Cost Exoskeleton and Vision-Based Game Interface

Abstract

Motivating game-based training have the potential to improve therapy for people with neurological impairments. In recent years, the serious games have become extremely useful tools in rehabilitation field. They aim to stimulate the mobility of the body through an immersive experience that puts the user in interactive virtual environment. This paper is concerned about developing a customized augmented reality system for stroke rehabilitation. This will be done through integrating an interactive serious game interface with a hand exoskeleton device. This game-based rehabilitation system allows users to carry out physical rehabilitation therapies using a natural user interface based on Kinect’s skeletal tracking features and the electromyography (EMG) sensor. During game playing, the interactive user interface provides useful real-time feedback information such as the time required to grasp a desired dynamic virtual object, and the assigned score and thus the ability of the proposed system to provide a compensatory action regarding the dynamic behavior of the virtual target. The main goal of the developed virtual environment is to create positive influences on the rehabilitation process. Patient movement information and signals obtained from the developed exoskeleton device are used together to monitor the rehabilitation progress. The developed exoskeleton hand is a 3D printed low cost device suitable for grasping tasks that can be used even for domestic stroke patients. The developed exoskeleton device is not only a mechanical system able to perform the rehabilitation act but also it presents an effective tracking and traceability software solution. The EMG signals measured during hand motion are used to detect the intention of hand opening or closing which in turn will actuate the mechanical structure to accomplish the desired task. Parameters and results of patients’ exercises are stored and analyzed when needed to evaluate patients’ progress. The developed system is tested experimentally and it is able to restore the functions of the upper limb and mainly give patients more motivation to undergo the rehabilitation exercises.

Supplementary material

(MP4 9.46 MB)

10846_2018_966_MOESM2_ESM.mp4 (412 kb)

(MP4 411 KB)

 

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[Abstract] Home-based Technologies for Stroke Rehabilitation: A Systematic Review

Highlights

-The types of technology of reviewed articles include games, telerehabilitation, robotic devices, virtual reality devices, sensors, and tablets.

-Two main human factors in designing home-based technologies for stroke rehabilitation are discussed: designing for engagement (including external and internal motivation) and designing for the home environment (including understanding the social context, practical challenges, and technical proficiency).

Abstract

Background

Many forms of home-based technology targeting stroke rehabilitation have been devised, and a number of human factors are important to their application, suggesting the need to examine this information in a comprehensive review.

Objective

The systematic review aims to synthesize the current knowledge of technologies and human factors in home-based technologies for stroke rehabilitation.

Methods

We conducted a systematic literature search in three electronic databases (IEEE, ACM, PubMed), including secondary citations from the literature search. We included articles that used technological means to help stroke patients conduct rehabilitation at home, reported empirical studies that evaluated the technologies with patients in the home environment, and were published in English. Three authors independently conducted the content analysis of searched articles using a list of interactively defined factors.

Results

The search yielded 832 potentially relevant articles, leading to 31 articles that were included for in-depth analysis. The types of technology of reviewed articles included games, telerehabilitation, robotic devices, virtual reality devices, sensors, and tablets. We present the merits and limitations of each type of technology. We then derive two main human factors in designing home-based technologies for stroke rehabilitation: designing for engagement (including external and internal motivation) and designing for the home environment (including understanding the social context, practical challenges, and technical proficiency).

Conclusion

This systematic review presents an overview of key technologies and human factors for designing home-based technologies for stroke rehabilitation.

 

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