Posts Tagged Stroke

[ARTICLE] Leap Motion-based virtual reality training for improving motor functional recovery of upper limbs and neural reorganization in subacute stroke patients – Full Text

 

Abstract

Virtual reality is nowadays used to facilitate motor recovery in stroke patients. Most virtual reality studies have involved chronic stroke patients; however, brain plasticity remains good in acute and subacute patients. Most virtual reality systems are only applicable to the proximal upper limbs (arms) because of the limitations of their capture systems. Nevertheless, the functional recovery of an affected hand is most difficult in the case of hemiparesis rehabilitation after a stroke. The recently developed Leap Motion controller can track the fine movements of both hands and fingers. Therefore, the present study explored the effects of a Leap Motion-based virtual reality system on subacute stroke. Twenty-six subacute stroke patients were assigned to an experimental group that received virtual reality training along with conventional occupational rehabilitation, and a control group that only received conventional rehabilitation. The Wolf motor function test (WMFT) was used to assess the motor function of the affected upper limb; functional magnetic resonance imaging was used to measure the cortical activation. After four weeks of treatment, the motor functions of the affected upper limbs were significantly improved in all the patients, with the improvement in the experimental group being significantly better than in the control group. The action performance time in the WMFT significantly decreased in the experimental group. Furthermore, the activation intensity and the laterality index of the contralateral primary sensorimotor cortex increased in both the experimental and control groups. These results confirmed that Leap Motion-based virtual reality training was a promising and feasible supplementary rehabilitation intervention, could facilitate the recovery of motor functions in subacute stroke patients. The study has been registered in the Chinese Clinical Trial Registry (registration number: ChiCTR-OCH-12002238).

Introduction

Chronic conditions such as stroke are becoming more prevalent as the world’s population ages (Christensen et al., 2009). Although the number of fatalities caused by stroke has fallen in most countries, stroke is still a leading cause of acquired adult hemiparesis (Langhorne et al., 2009; Liu and Duan, 2017). Up to 85% of patients who survive a stroke experience hemiparesis, resulting in impaired movement of an arm and hand (Nakayama et al., 1994). Among them, a large proportion (46% to 95%) remain symptomatic six months after experiencing an ischemic stroke (Kong et al., 2011). The loss of upper limb function adversely affects the quality of life and impedes the normal use of other body parts. The motor function recovery of the upper limbs is more difficult than that of the lower extremities (Kwakkel et al., 1996; Nichols-Larsen et al., 2005; Día and Gutiérrez, 2013). Functional motor recovery in the affected upper extremities in patients with hemiparesis is the primary goal of physical therapists (Page et al., 2001). Evidence suggests that repetitive, task-oriented training of the paretic upper extremity is beneficial (Barreca et al., 2003; Wolf et al., 2006). Rehabilitation intervention is a critical part of the recovery and studies have reported that intensive repeated practice is likely necessary to modify the neural organization and favor the recovery of the functional upper limb motor skills of stroke survivors (Brunnstrom, 1966; Kopp et al., 1999; Taub et al., 1999; Wolf et al., 2006; Nudo, 2011). Meta-analyses of clinical trials have indicated that longer sessions of practice promote better outcomes in the case of impairments, thus improving the daily activities of people after a stroke (Nudo, 2011; Veerbeek et al., 2014; Sehatzadeh, 2015; French et al., 2016). However, the execution of these conventional rehabilitation techniques is tedious, resource-intensive, and often requires the transportation of patients to specialized facilities (Jutai and Teasell, 2003; Teasell et al., 2009).

Virtual reality training is becoming a promising technology that can promote motor recovery by providing high-intensity, repetitive, and task-orientated training with computer programs simulating three-dimensional situations in which patients play by moving their body parts (Saposnik et al., 2010, 2011; Kim et al., 2011; Laver et al., 2015; Tsoupikova et al., 2015). The gaming industry has developed a variety of virtual reality systems for both home and clinical applications (Saposnik et al., 2010; Bao et al., 2013; Orihuela-Espina et al., 2013; Gatica-Rojas and Méndez-Rebolledo, 2014). The most difficult task related to hemiparesis rehabilitation after a stroke is the functional recovery of the affected hand (Carey et al., 2002). To facilitate the functional recovery of a paretic hand along with that of the proximal upper extremity, an ideal virtual reality system should be able to track hand position and motion, which is not a feature of most existing virtual reality systems (Jang et al., 2005; Merians et al., 2009). The leap motion controller developed by Leap Motion (https://www.leapmotion.com) provides a means of capturing and tracking the fine movements of the hand and fingers, while controlling a virtual environment requiring hand-arm coordination as part of the practicing of virtual tasks (Iosa et al., 2015; Smeragliuolo et al., 2016).

Most virtual reality studies have often only involved patients who have experienced chronic stroke (Piron et al., 2003; Yavuzer et al., 2008; Saposnik et al., 2010; da Silva Cameirao et al., 2011). For patients in the chronic stage, who had missed the window of opportunity present at the acute and subacute stages (in which the brain plasticity peaks), rehabilitation-therapy-induced neuroplasticity can only be effective within a relatively narrow range (Chen et al., 2002). No motor function recovery of the hands, six months after the onset of a stroke, indicates a poor prognosis for hand function (Duncan et al., 1992).

We hypothesized that Leap Motion-based virtual reality training would facilitate motor functional recovery of the affected upper limb, as well as neural reorganization in subacute stroke patients. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), also called blood oxygenation level-dependent fMRI (BOLD-fMRI), is widely used as a non-invasive, convenient, and economical method to examine cerebral function (Ogawa et al., 1990; Iosa et al., 2015; Yu et al., 2016). In the present study, we evaluated the brain function reorganization by fMRI, as well as the motor function recovery of the affected upper limb in patients with subacute stroke using Leap Motion-based virtual reality training.[…]

Continue —>  Leap Motion-based virtual reality training for improving motor functional recovery of upper limbs and neural reorganization in subacute stroke patients Wang Zr, Wang P, Xing L, Mei Lp, Zhao J, Zhang T – Neural Regen Res

Figure 1: Leap Motion-based virtual reality system and training games.
(A, B) Leap Motion-based virtual reality system; (C) petal-picking game; (D) piano-playing game; (E) robot-assembling game; (F) object-catching with balance board game; (G) firefly game; (H) bee-batting game.

 

 

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[Abstract] Improving Cognitive Function in Patients with Stroke: Can Computerized Training Be the Future?

Background

Cognitive impairment after stroke is common and can cause disability with a high impact on quality of life and independence. Cognitive rehabilitation is a therapeutic approach designed to improve cognitive functioning after central nervous system’s injuries. Computerized cognitive rehabilitation (CCR) uses multimedia and informatics resources to optimize cognitive compromised performances. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effects of pc cognitive training with Erica software in patients with stroke.

Methods

We studied 35 subjects (randomly divided into 2 groups), affected by either ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke, having attended from January 2013 to May 2015 the Laboratory of Robotic and Cognitive Rehabilitation of Istituto di Ricerca e Cura a Carattere Scientifico Neurolesi in Messina. Cognitive dysfunctions were investigated through a complete neuropsychological battery, administered before (T0) and after (T1) each different training.

Results

At T0, all the patients showed language and cognitive deficits, especially in attention process and memory abilities, with mood alterations. After the rehabilitation program (T1), we noted a global cognitive improvement in both groups, but a more significant increase in the scores of the different clinical scales we administered was found after CCR.

Conclusions

Our data suggest that cognitive pc training by using the Erica software may be a useful methodology to increase the post-stroke cognitive recovery.

 

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[ARTICLE] Mapping upper-limb motor performance after stroke – a novel method with utility for individualized motor training – Full Text

Abstract

Background

Chronic upper limb motor impairment is a common outcome of stroke. Therapeutic training can reduce motor impairment. Recently, a growing interest in evaluating motor training provided by robotic assistive devices has emerged. Robot-assisted therapy is attractive because it provides a means of increasing practice intensity without increasing the workload of physical therapists. However, movements practised through robotic assistive devices are commonly pre-defined and fixed across individuals. More optimal training may result from individualizing the selection of the trained movements based on the individual’s impairment profile. This requires quantitative assessment of the degree of the motor impairment prior to training, in relevant movement tasks. However, standard clinical measures for profiling motor impairment after stroke are often subjective and lack precision. We have developed a novel robot-mediated method for systematic and fine-grained mapping (or profiling) of individual performance across a wide range of planar arm reaching movements. Here we describe and demonstrate this mapping method and its utilization for individualized training. We also present a novel principle for the individualized selection of training movements based on the performance maps.

Methods and Results

To demonstrate the utility of our method we present examples of 2D performance maps produced from the kinetic and kinematics data of two individuals with stroke-related upper limb hemiparesis. The maps outline distinct regions of high motor impairment. The procedure of map-based selection of training movements and the change in motor performance following training is demonstrated for one participant.

Conclusions

The performance mapping method is feasible to produce (online or offline). The 2D maps are easy to interpret and to be utilized for selecting individual performance-based training. Different performance maps can be easily compared within and between individuals, which potentially has diagnostic utility.

Background

Impaired upper-limb (UL) function is one of the most common consequences of stroke [123], which can severely hamper activities of daily living and reduce quality of life. Certain intervention methods can promote some recovery of UL motor function though their outcome shows high variability and depends on the intensity (repetition) of the intervention [456789].

Robotic assistive technologies can be beneficial for improving clinical scores of UL motor impairment [910], by allowing intensive training [911121314]. However, currently there is no consistent evidence for the effectiveness of robot-assisted UL therapy for improving daily living activity [15]. One possibility is that the tasks performed with robotic assistance do not generalise to everyday tasks. Another possibility is that the tasks are not optimised for the trained individuals. Currently, in robot-assisted therapy the set of practiced movements are usually pre-determined, with limited regard to the motor profile of the individual (e.g. ‘centre-out’ point-to-point reaches, or forearm pronation/supination, wrist extension/flexion [161718]). However, the effectiveness of training for motor recovery is likely to depend on the difficulty to perform the task due to motor impairment [19]. For example, training focused on unimpaired movements or on tasks that are either too easy or too difficult is likely to contribute relatively little to motor learning and recovery [192021]. An advantage of the robot-mediated approach is that it allows the collection of various accurate and real-time data about motor performance that would be potentially useful for individualized adjustments of the therapy; e.g. selection of training tasks based on the profile of motor performance. Yet, prescribing training conditions based on a motor performance profile requires characterising motor performance across a range of movement conditions for each individual. Here we present a novel computerised method for systematically mapping individuals’ UL motor performance (or impairment) across a wide range of robot-mediated reaching movements. The map can then serve as a basis for individualised and performance-based selection of training movements.

For optimal utilization of a motor performance map, the mapped metrics should reflect basic components of sensorimotor control, so that the map can be directly linked to processes underlying the movements (e.g. muscle activity and movement representation). Continuous metrics, allowing smoothing and interpolation from tested movements to neighbouring untested regions are also valuable. Accordingly, our mapping of reaching performance is done across the two dimensions of target location (in angular coordinates relative to a central position) and of prescribed starting location (again in angular coordinates relative to the selected target, which indicates the dictated movement direction). The range of target and start locations tests both postural and movement-related aspects of motor control, respectively. Importantly, muscle activation patterns and population neural activity in the motor-related cortices show tuning to one or both task dimensions [22232425], and behavioural studies support the essential underlying role of these parameters in planning of reaching movements [2627].

Of course, the usefulness of a motor performance map for prescribing performance-based training also depends on an appropriate principle for the selection of movements to be practiced. Here we demonstrate the utility of our mapping method for individualized task selection based on a principle which we term “steepest gradients” (SG), although the motor performance map can be the basis for alternative task selection principles. The SG principle is founded on the idea that training with tasks performed with an intermediate range of difficulty would allow more improvement and learning-induced plasticity, compared to training with very difficult or easy tasks [1928] .

Here we report the details of the mapping methods, and show its efficacy in portraying relevant motor impairment patterns for individual subjects. We also briefly demonstrate its utility for individually-tailored selection of practiced movement using the SG principle. However, our evidence for the utility and benefit of the mapping method for individualizing UL robot-mediated rehabilitation after stroke will be reported in subsequent publications.[…]

 

Continue —> Mapping upper-limb motor performance after stroke – a novel method with utility for individualized motor training | Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation | Full Text

Fig. 1Schematic description of the experimental setting (top view). a The participant held the handle of a robotic manipulandum (indicated onscreen by a red disc; not shown), which allowed planar reaching movements from a start position (white onscreen disc (here gray) to a target position (blue onscreen disc; here black) and provided assisting and guiding forces as needed. Hand’s grip was maintained via a special glove and the forearm was supported against gravity (not shown). The participant leaned his/her head against a headrest, maintaining upright seating posture (ensured using a harness). The horizontal display occluded the hand and the manipulandum from vision. The start-to-target axis (y) and its perpendicular axis (x) correspond to the axes of the assisting and guiding forces, respectively, which were provided during the arm movement as needed by the robot. Adapted from Howard et al. (2009). b The reaching workspace used for mapping performance. The locations of the 8 targets, used in the mapping sessions, are indicated by small open circles. An example of the arm posture when the hand located at the 90o target is shown. Participants were tested with 5cm reaches to each target from 8 start locations (indicated, for the example target, by small black dots). The dashed circle indicates the extent of the mapped workspace. The drawing reflects the actual relationship of target and start locations and arm posture, based on a photograph taken with a healthy participant

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[WEB SITE] Post-Stroke Rehab Benefits From Virtual Reality

Patients from 5 rehabilitation centers were enrolled within 12 weeks after a stroke.

Patients from 5 rehabilitation centers were enrolled within 12 weeks after a stroke.

HealthDay News — Virtual reality (VR) training is as effective as conventional training for upper extremity rehabilitation after stroke, according to a study published in Neurology.

Iris Brunner, PhD, from the University of Bergen in Norway, and colleagues randomized 120 patients with upper extremity motor impairment within 12 weeks after stroke to receive VR or CT as an adjunct to standard rehabilitation. Participants underwent at least 16 60-minute training sessions over a four-week period.

The researchers found that there were no between-group differences for any of the outcome measures.

Improvement of upper extremity motor function assessed with the Action Research Arm Test was similar between the groups at the post-intervention (P=.714) and follow-up (P=.777) assessments. Improvements were seen in patients from both groups from baseline to the post-intervention assessment and from baseline to follow-up. Improvements were similar in subgroup analysis of mild to moderate versus severe upper extremity paresis.

“Additional upper extremity VR training was not superior but equally as effective as additional CT in the subacute phase after stroke. VR may constitute a motivating training alternative as a supplement to standard rehabilitation,” conclude the authors.

Reference

Brunner I, Skouen JS, Hofstad H, et al. Virtual reality training for upper extremity in subacute stroke (VIRTUES): A multicenter RCT [published online November 15, 2017]. Neurology. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000004744.

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[Abstract+References] Finite element analysis of the wrist in stroke patients: the effects of hand grip.

Abstract

The provision of the most suitable rehabilitation treatment for stroke patient remains an ongoing challenge for clinicians. Fully understanding the pathomechanics of the upper limb will allow doctors to assist patients with physiotherapy treatment that will aid in full arm recovery. A biomechanical study was therefore conducted using the finite element (FE) method. A three-dimensional (3D) model of the human wrist was reconstructed using computed tomography (CT)-scanned images. A stroke model was constructed based on pathological problems, i.e. bone density reductions, cartilage wane, and spasticity. The cartilages were reconstructed as per the articulation shapes in the joint, while the ligaments were modelled using linear links. The hand grip condition was mimicked, and the resulting biomechanical characteristics of the stroke and healthy models were compared. Due to the lower thickness of the cartilages, the stroke model reported a higher contact pressure (305 MPa), specifically at the MC1-trapezium. Contrarily, a healthy model reported a contact pressure of 228 MPa. In the context of wrist extension and displacement, the stroke model (0.68° and 5.54 mm, respectively) reported a lower magnitude than the healthy model (0.98° and 9.43 mm, respectively), which agrees with previously reported works. It was therefore concluded that clinicians should take extra care in rehabilitation treatment of wrist movement in order to prevent the occurrence of other complications.

Graphical abstract

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[Abstract] Improving Cognitive Function in Patients with Stroke: Can Computerized Training Be the Future?

Background

Cognitive impairment after stroke is common and can cause disability with a high impact on quality of life and independence. Cognitive rehabilitation is a therapeutic approach designed to improve cognitive functioning after central nervous system’s injuries. Computerized cognitive rehabilitation (CCR) uses multimedia and informatics resources to optimize cognitive compromised performances. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effects of pc cognitive training with Erica software in patients with stroke.

Methods

We studied 35 subjects (randomly divided into 2 groups), affected by either ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke, having attended from January 2013 to May 2015 the Laboratory of Robotic and Cognitive Rehabilitation of Istituto di Ricerca e Cura a Carattere Scientifico Neurolesi in Messina. Cognitive dysfunctions were investigated through a complete neuropsychological battery, administered before (T0) and after (T1) each different training.

Results

At T0, all the patients showed language and cognitive deficits, especially in attention process and memory abilities, with mood alterations. After the rehabilitation program (T1), we noted a global cognitive improvement in both groups, but a more significant increase in the scores of the different clinical scales we administered was found after CCR.

Conclusions

Our data suggest that cognitive pc training by using the Erica software may be a useful methodology to increase the post-stroke cognitive recovery.

 

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[ARTICLE] EMG based FES for post-stroke rehabilitation – Full Text

Abstract.

Annually, 15 million in world population experiences stroke. Nearly 9 million stroke
survivors every year experience mild to severe disability. The loss of upper extremity function in stroke survivors still remains a major rehabilitation challenge. The proposed EMG based FES system can be used for effective upper limb motor re-education in post stroke upper limb rehabilitation. The  governing feature of the designed system is its synchronous activation, in which the FES stimulation is dependent on the amplitude of the EMG signal acquired from the unaffected upper limb muscle of the hemiplegic patient. This proportionate operation eliminates the undesirable  damage to the patient’s skin by generating stimulus in proportion to voluntary EMG signals. This feature overcomes the disadvantages of currently available manual motor re-education systems. This model can be used in home-based post stroke rehabilitation, to effectively improve the upper limb functions.

[…]

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Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/321478935_EMG_based_FES_for_post-stroke_rehabilitation [accessed Dec 09 2017].

 

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[ARTICLE] Arm rehabilitation in post stroke subjects: A randomized controlled trial on the efficacy of myoelectrically driven FES applied in a task-oriented approach – Full Text

Abstract

Purpose

Motor recovery of persons after stroke may be enhanced by a novel approach where residual muscle activity is facilitated by patient-controlled electrical muscle activation. Myoelectric activity from hemiparetic muscles is then used for continuous control of functional electrical stimulation (MeCFES) of same or synergic muscles to promote restoration of movements during task-oriented therapy (TOT). Use of MeCFES during TOT may help to obtain a larger functional and neurological recovery than otherwise possible.

Study design

Multicenter randomized controlled trial.

Methods

Eighty two acute and chronic stroke victims were recruited through the collaborating facilities and after signing an informed consent were randomized to receive either the experimental (MeCFES assisted TOT (M-TOT) or conventional rehabilitation care including TOT (C-TOT). Both groups received 45 minutes of rehabilitation over 25 sessions. Outcomes were Action Research Arm Test (ARAT), Upper Extremity Fugl-Meyer Assessment (FMA-UE) scores and Disability of the Arm Shoulder and Hand questionnaire.

Results

Sixty eight subjects completed the protocol (Mean age 66.2, range 36.5–88.7, onset months 12.7, range 0.8–19.1) of which 45 were seen at follow up 5 weeks later. There were significant improvements in both groups on ARAT (median improvement: MeCFES TOT group 3.0; C-TOT group 2.0) and FMA-UE (median improvement: M-TOT 4.5; C-TOT 3.5). Considering subacute subjects (time since stroke < 6 months), there was a trend for a larger proportion of improved patients in the M-TOT group following rehabilitation (57.9%) than in the C-TOT group (33.2%) (difference in proportion improved 24.7%; 95% CI -4.0; 48.6), though the study did not meet the planned sample size.

Conclusion

This is the first large multicentre RCT to compare MeCFES assisted TOT with conventional care TOT for the upper extremity. No adverse events or negative outcomes were encountered, thus we conclude that MeCFES can be a safe adjunct to rehabilitation that could promote recovery of upper limb function in persons after stroke, particularly when applied in the subacute phase.

 

Introduction

Stroke is the leading cause of disability in adults in the world and can result in highly complex clinical situations. The insult often involves the sensory-motor system leading to hemiparesis and impairment of the upper limb in over 50% of survivors [1,2]. Although some structural recovery is possible, especially in the first months after stroke, only a small percentage of persons recover pre-morbid movement patterns and functionality [3].

Limitations in reaching and grasping have an important role in determining the level of independence of the person in their daily activities and the subsequent impact on their quality of life. Tailored goal oriented rehabilitation is therefore an essential factor in reducing impairment and augmenting functionality of a hemiplegic arm. A plurality of interventions may help the subject to restore participation and adapt to the new clinical status including task oriented therapy (TOT) that has been shown to be effective for motor recovery [4,5], as well as constraint induced movement therapy (CIMT) [6], biofeedback and robot assisted therapy [79]. Moreover, electrostimulation has been applied to improve muscle recruitment and aid motor recovery. Since resources and time in rehabilitation are limited it is important to identify and employ effective interventions [10].

The inability to use the arm in an efficient way may lead to non use of the arm and hand that can lead to changes also at the neural level [11]. It is therefore essential that arm use is facilitated in meaningful activities. Approaches that assist the person during purposeful voluntarily activated movement could be important for inducing neuroplasticity and increasing function. Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) has been employed in rehabilitation of stroke patients either to generate muscle contraction or be a support during movements; however, with inconsistent results [1120]. A prerequisite for neuroplasticity through training is the volitional intent and attention of the person and it therefore follows that the user should participate consciously in the rehabilitative intervention [21,22].

Through the use of EMG it is technically possible to register the myoelectric activity from voluntary contraction of a muscle while its motor nerve is being stimulated by electrical impulses [23]. MeCFES is a method where the FES is directly controlled by volitional EMG activity. In contrast to EMG triggered FES, the controlling muscle is continuously controlling the stimulation intensity. Thus the resulting movement and intrinsic multisensory activation is synchronized with the active attention and intention of the subject and the muscle contraction can be gradually modulated by the subject himself facilitating motor learning and recovery of function. This has been demonstrated to be possible in spinal cord injured subjects [24,25] and a pilot study has shown that when the controlling and stimulated muscles are homologous or they are synergistic it may lead to a marked increase in motor function of the hemiparetic forearm of selected stroke patients [26]. Motor learning principles required for CNS-activity-dependent plasticity, in fact, include task-oriented movements, muscle activation driving practice of movement, focused attention, repetition of desired movements, and training specificity [21,22,27]. The use of MeCFES during active challenging goal oriented movements should help the patient and the therapist overcome the effect of learned non use by turning attempts to move the arm into successful movements.

We hypothesize that applying MeCFES in a task oriented paradigm to assist normal arm movements during rehabilitation of the upper limb in persons with stroke will improve the movement quality and success and thus induce recovery at the body functions level (impairment) and the activity level (disability) of the International Classification of Function, Disability and Health (ICF) [28] superior to that induced by usual care task-oriented rehabilitation.[…]

Continue —>  Arm rehabilitation in post stroke subjects: A randomized controlled trial on the efficacy of myoelectrically driven FES applied in a task-oriented approach

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[WEB SITE] Virtual Reality As Effective As Standard Training for Post-Stroke Rehabilitation.

Improvements were similar in subgroup analysis of mild to moderate vs severe upper extremity paresis.

Improvements were similar in subgroup analysis of mild to moderate vs severe upper extremity paresis

HealthDay News — Virtual reality (VR) training is as effective as conventional training for upper extremity rehabilitation after stroke, according to a study published online in Neurology.

Iris Brunner, PhD, from the University of Bergen in Norway, and colleagues randomized 120 patients with upper extremity motor impairment within 12 weeks after stroke to receive VR or CT as an adjunct to standard rehabilitation. Participants underwent at least 16 60-minute training sessions over a 4-week period.

The researchers found that there were no between-group differences for any of the outcome measures. Improvement of upper extremity motor function assessed with the Action Research Arm Test was similar between the groups at the post-intervention (=.714) and follow-up (=.777) assessments.

Improvements were seen in patients from both groups from baseline to the post-intervention assessment and from baseline to follow-up. Improvements were similar in subgroup analysis of mild to moderate vs severe upper extremity paresis.

“Additional upper extremity VR training was not superior but equally as effective as additional CT in the subacute phase after stroke. VR may constitute a motivating training alternative as a supplement to standard rehabilitation,” concluded the authors.

Reference

Brunner I, Skouen JS, Hofstad H, et al. Virtual reality training for upper extremity in subacute stroke (VIRTUES): a multicenter RCT [published online November 15, 2017]. Neurology. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000004744

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[WEB SITE] Games, Gloves, and Grip: PTs Rehab Arms and Hands Post-Stroke With YouGrabber

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Playing virtual reality games could be as effective as adding extra physical therapy sessions to a stroke patient’s rehab regimen, according to researchers.

“It is not a question of choosing one thing over the other, rather of having different training alternatives to provide variation,” says Iris Brunner, author of a study, published recently in Neurology, that explored a variety of medical uses for virtual reality.

“Virtual reality cannot replace physical therapy. But it can be experienced as a game, motivating patients to do an extra treatment session,” adds Brunner, associate professor with the University of Aarhus and Hammel Neurocenter, in Denmark.

Brunner and her team’s study included 120 stroke patients with mild to severe hand weakness, all of whom were randomly assigned to add 16 hour-long therapy sessions to their routine rehabilitation over a month. One group performed physical therapy, while the other group played a virtual reality game called YouGrabber, notes a media release from HealthDay.

In the game, Brunner explains, “the patients wear gloves with sensors, and their movements are tracked by an infrared camera and transferred to a virtual arm on screen.”

“In different scenarios, they can grasp objects that come toward them or pick carrots. In other games, patients steer a plane or a car with their movement. The therapist chooses the movements to be trained and the level of difficulty.”

Fifty patients in the physical therapy group and 52 in the virtual reality group completed the study and were evaluated after 3 months.

The researchers found no difference between the two groups with regard to the improvement in their hand and arm function.

“Patients who started out with moderately to mildly impaired arm and hand motor function achieved, on average, a level of good motor function,” Brunner states, while those with severe weakness were able to use their arms to make movements.

Patients with severe hand weakness appreciated how even small movements translated to the virtual arms on screen, she adds. And even the older patients liked the virtual reality game, she notes, possibly because the graphics are simpler than those in commercial video games.

Brunner concludes by noting that larger studies are needed to understand the potential value of virtual reality as a stroke recovery treatment.

[Source: HealthDay]

 

via Games, Gloves, and Grip: PTs Rehab Arms and Hands Post-Stroke With YouGrabber – Rehab Managment

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