Posts Tagged upper limb

[Abstract] Hand strengthening exercises in chronic stroke patients: Dose-response evaluation using electromyography

Abstract

Study Design

Cross-sectional.

Purpose of the Study

This study evaluates finger flexion and extension strengthening exercises using elastic resistance in chronic stroke patients.

Methods

Eighteen stroke patients (mean age: 56.8 ± 7.6 years) with hemiparesis performed 3 consecutive repetitions of finger flexion and extension, using 3 different elastic resistance levels (easy, moderate, and hard). Surface electromyography was recorded from the flexor digitorum superficialis (FDS) and extensor digitorum (ED) muscles and normalized to the maximal electromyography of the non-paretic arm.

Results

Maximal grip strength was 39.2 (standard deviation: 12.5) and 7.8 kg (standard deviation: 9.4) in the nonparetic and paretic hand, respectively. For the paretic hand, muscle activity was higher during finger flexion exercise than during finger extension exercise for both ED (30% [95% confidence interval {CI}: 19-40] vs 15% [95% CI: 5-25] and FDS (37% [95% CI: 27-48] vs 24% [95% CI: 13-35]). For the musculature of both the FDS and ED, no dose-response association was observed for resistance and muscle activity during the flexion exercise (P > .05).

Conclusion

The finger flexion exercise showed higher muscle activity in both the flexor and extensor musculature of the forearm than the finger extension exercise. Furthermore, greater resistance did not result in higher muscle activity during the finger flexion exercise. The present results suggest that the finger flexion exercise should be the preferred strengthening exercise to achieve high levels of muscle activity in both flexor and extensor forearm muscles in chronic stroke patients. The finger extension exercise may be performed with emphasis on improving neuromuscular control.

Level of Evidence

4b.

Source: Hand strengthening exercises in chronic stroke patients: Dose-response evaluation using electromyography – Journal of Hand Therapy

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[WEB SITE] Stroke rehabilitation device lets the patient do the shocking

 

When a person’s arm has become paralyzed due to a stroke, therapists often try to get it moving again using what’s known as functional electrical stimulation – this involves delivering electric shocks to the arm, causing its muscles to move. Studies have shown, however, that it works better when the patient is in charge of delivering those shocks themselves. A new device lets them do so, and it has met with promising results.

The system was developed by Intento, a company affiliated with Switzerland’s EPFL research institute. It consists of three parts: electrodes that the patient places on their arm, a controller that is operated by their “good” hand, and a tablet running custom software.

The therapist starts by selecting a desired arm movement on the tablet, and then loading it into the controller. A display on the tablet’s screen then shows the patient where the electrodes should be placed. Once those are attached, the patient sets about using the controller to deliver shocks to their arm muscles, resulting in the targeted movement – this could be something like pressing a button or picking up an object.

Ideally, once the action has been repeated enough times, the muscles will be “trained” and it will be possible for the patient to perform the movement without any external stimulation.

In a clinical trial performed at Lausanne University Hospital, 11 severely stroke-paralyzed patients – for whom other therapies hadn’t worked – used for the device for 1.5-hour daily sessions, over a course of 10 days. A claimed 70 percent of them subsequently “showed a significant improvement in their motor functions,” as opposed to just 30 percent who were undergoing conventional occupational therapy.

A larger clinical study is now being planned, after which the device will hopefully be commercialized. The research is described in a paper that was recently published in the journal Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Source: EPFL

Source: Stroke rehabilitation device lets the patient do the shocking

 

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[ARTICLE] Influence of physician empathy on the outcome of botulinum toxin treatment for upper limb spasticity in patients with chronic stroke: A cohort study – Full Text

Abstract

Objective: To examine the relationship between patient-rated physician empathy and outcome of botulinum toxin treatment for post-stroke upper limb spasticity.

Design: Cohort study.

Subjects: Twenty chronic stroke patients with upper limb spasticity.

Methods: All patients received incobotulinumtoxinA injection in at least one muscle for each of the following patterns: flexed elbow, flexed wrist and clenched fist. Each treatment was performed by 1 of 5 physiatrists with equivalent clinical experience. Patient-rated physician empathy was quantified with the Consultation and Relational Empathy Measure immediately after botulinum toxin treatment. Patients were evaluated before and at 4 weeks after botulinum toxin treatment by means of the following outcome measures: Modified Ashworth Scale; Wolf Motor Function Test; Disability Assessment Scale; Goal Attainment Scaling.

Results: Ordinal regression analysis showed a significant influence of patient-rated physician empathy (independent variable) on the outcome (dependent variables) of botulinum toxin treatment at 4 weeks after injection, as measured by Goal Attainment Scaling (p < 0.001).

Conclusion: These findings support the hypothesis that patient-rated physician empathy may influence the outcome of botulinum toxin treatment in chronic stroke patients with upper limb spasticity as measured by Goal Attainment Scaling.

Introduction

Stroke is a leading cause of adult disability (1, 2). Damage to the descending tracts and sensory-motor networks results in the positive and negative signs of the upper motor neurone syndrome (UMNS) (1–3). The upper limb is commonly involved after stroke, with up to 69% of patients having arm weakness on admission to hospital (4). Recovery of upper limb function has been found to correlate with the degree of initial paresis and its topical distribution according to the cortico-motoneuronal representation of arm movements (5–9).

Spasticity is a main feature of UMNS. It is defined as a state of increased muscle tone with exaggerated reflexes characterized by a velocity-dependent increase in resistance to passive movement (10). Upper limb spasticity has been found to be associated with reduced arm function, low levels of independence and high burden of direct care costs during the first year post-stroke (11). It affects nearly half of patients with initial impaired arm function, with a prevalence varying from 17% to 38% of all patients at one year post-stroke (11). Up to 13% of patients with stroke need some form of spasticity treatment (drug therapy, physical therapy or other rehabilitation approaches) within 6–12 months post-onset (11, 12). Botulinum toxin type A (BoNT-A) has been proven safe and effective for reducing upper limb spasticity and improving arm passive function in adult patients (13, 14). While current literature reports highly patient-specific potential gains in function after BoNT-A treatment, there is inadequate evidence to determine the efficacy of BoNT-A in improving active function associated with adult upper limb spasticity (13).

Empathy refers to the ability to understand and share the feelings, thoughts or attitudes of another person (15). It is an essential component of the physician-patient relationship and a key dimension of patient-centred care (15, 16). This is even more important in rehabilitation medicine, where persons with disabilities often report encountering attitudinal and environmental barriers when trying to obtain rehabilitative care and express the need for better communication with their healthcare providers (17).

To the best of our knowledge, no previous research has investigated the influence of physician empathy on patient outcome after spasticity treatment. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between patient-rated physician empathy and clinical outcome of BoNT-A treatment for upper limb spasticity due to chronic stroke. […]

Continue —> Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine – Influence of physician empathy on the outcome of botulinum toxin treatment for upper limb spasticity in patients with chronic stroke: A cohort study – HTML

 

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[Abstract + References] Virtual fine rehabilitation in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome using low-cost devices

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) happens when there is a compression of the median nerve between the forearm and the hand. This disorder causes an influence on basic and instrumental Activities of Daily Living. The motor disruptions are muscle weakness, tingling, and heaviness in the hand. The main disorder which subjects suffer with CTS is pain. To alleviate or mitigate pain in CTS, there are different techniques such as pharmacologic treatments, splints to immobilize the wrist, surgery, and physical therapy. Novel and customizable low-cost devices together with Virtual Environments are a good complement in rehabilitation sessions for this syndrome. The aim of this present study is to test a novel system, Virtual Rehabilitation Carpal Tunnel (VRCT), in patients with CTS. For this purpose, we have tested our system with four CTS patients (experimental group). At the same time, four CTS patients were tested using traditional rehabilitation. Phalen and Tinel test were used to analyze the results. The results obtained showed greater improvement in the experimental group during the intervention period. Future research will be focused on the analysis of the follow-up period.

References

Note: OCR errors may be found in this Reference List extracted from the full text article. ACM has opted to expose the complete List rather than only correct and linked references.

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Kostopoulos D. Treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome: a review of the non-surgical approaches with emphasis in neural mobilization. J Bodyw Mov Ther 2004; 8:2–8.  [doi>10.1016/S1360-8592(03)00068-8]
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Heuser A, Kourtev H, Winter S, Fensterheim D, Burdea G, Hentz V, Forducey P. Telerehabilitation using the Rutgers Master II glove following carpal tunnel release surgery: proof-of-concept. IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2007Mar;15(1):43–9.  [doi>10.1109/TNSRE.2007.891393]
3
Thiese MS, Gerr F, Hegmann KT, Harris-Adamson C, Dale AM, Evanoff B, Eisen EA, Kapellusch J, Garg A, Burt S, Bao S, Silverstein B, Merlino L, Rempel D. Effects of varying case definition on carpal tunnel syndrome prevalence estimates in a pooled cohort. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2014 Dec;95(12):2320–6.  [doi>10.1016/j.apmr.2014.08.004]
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Castro, A. do A. e, Skare, TL, Nassif PAN, Sakuma AK, Barros WH Sonographic diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome: a study in 200 hospital workers. Radiologia Brasileira. 2015;48(5), 287–291.  [doi>10.1590/0100-3984.2014.0069]
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Alfonso C, Jann S, Massa R, Torreggiani A. Diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of the carpal tunnel syndrome: a review. Neurol Sci. 2010 Jun;31(3):243–52.  [doi>10.1007/s10072-009-0213-9]
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Newington L, Harris EC,Walker-Bone K. Carpal tunnel syndrome and work. Best Practice & Research. Clinical Rheumatology. 2015; 29(3), 440–453.  [doi>10.1016/j.berh.2015.04.026]
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Fu T, Cao M, Liu F, Zhu J, Ye D, Feng X, Xu Y, Wang G, Bai Y. Carpal tunnel syndrome assessment with ultrasonography: value of inlet-to-outlet median nerve area ratio in patients versus healthy volunteers. PLoS One. 2015 Jan 24;10(1):e0116777.  [doi>10.1371/journal.pone.0116777]
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Phalen GS.The carpal-tunnel syndrome. Seventeen years’ experience in diagnosis and treatment of six hundred fifty-four hands. J Bone Joint Surg Am 1966; 48: 2112228.  [doi>10.2106/00004623-196648020-00001]
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Madenci E, Altindag O, Koca I, Yilmaz M, Gur A. Reliability and efficacy of the new massage technique on the treatment in the patients with carpal tunnel syndrome. Rheumatol Int. 2012 Oct;32(10):3171–9.  [doi>10.1007/s00296-011-2149-7]
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Fernández-de-Las Peñas C, Ortega-Santiago R, de la Llave-Rincón AI, Martínez-Perez A, Fahandezh-Saddi Díaz H, Martínez-Martín J, Pareja JA, Cuadrado-Pérez ML. Manual Physical Therapy Versus Surgery for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: A Randomized Parallel-Group Trial. J Pain. 2015 Nov;16(11):1087–94.  [doi>10.1016/j.jpain.2015.07.012]
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Johansson BB. Multisensory stimulation in stroke rehabilitation. Front Hum Neurosci. 2012 Apr 9;6:60.  [doi>10.3389/fnhum.2012.00060]
12
Brunner I, Skouen JS, Hofstad H, Strand LI, Becker F, Sanders AM, Pallesen H, Kristensen T, Michielsen M, Verheyden G. Virtual reality training for upper extremity in subacute stroke (VIRTUES): study protocol for a randomized controlled multicenter trial. BMC Neurol. 2014 Sep 28;14:186.  [doi>10.1186/s12883-014-0186-z]
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Albiol-Pérez S, Gil-Gómez JA, Llorens R, Alcañiz M, Font CC. The role of virtual motor rehabilitation: a quantitative analysis between acute and chronic patients with acquired brain injury. IEEE J Biomed Health Inform. 2014 Jan;18(1):391–8.  [doi>10.1109/JBHI.2013.2272101]
14
Albiol-Pérez S, Forcano-García M, Muñoz-Tomás MT, Manzano-Fernández P, Solsona-Hernández S, Mashat MA, Gil-Gómez JA. A novel virtual motor rehabilitation system for Guillain-Barré syndrome. Two single case studies. Methods Inf Med. 2015;54(2):127–34.  [doi>10.3414/ME14-02-0002]
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Merians AS, Poizner H, Boian R, Burdea G, Adamovich S. Sensorimotor training in a virtual reality environment: does it improve functional recovery poststroke? Neurorehabil Neural Repair 2006; 20:252–267.  [doi>10.1177/1545968306286914]
16
Tansel H, Sinan K, Doga D, Marc W., Kyle E. MoMiReS: Mobile mixed reality system for physical & occupational therapies for hand and wrist ailments. Innovations in Technology Conference (InnoTek), 2014 IEEE.
17
Gil-Gómez J.-A., Gil-Gómez H., Lozano-Quilis J.-A., Manzano-Hernández P., Albiol-Pérez S., Aula-Valero C.: SEQ: suitability evaluation questionnaire for virtual rehabilitation systems. Application in a virtual rehabilitation system for balance rehabilitation. In Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Pervasive Computing Technologies for Healthcare (PervasiveHealth ’13). 335–338 (2013).

Source: Virtual fine rehabilitation in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome using low-cost devices

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[Abstract] Electrically Assisted Movement Therapy in Chronic Stroke Patients With Severe Upper Limb Paresis: A Pilot, Single-Blind, Randomized Crossover Study  

Abstract

Objective

To evaluate the effects of electrically assisted movement therapy (EAMT) in which patients use functional electrical stimulation, modulated by a custom device controlled through the patient’s unaffected hand, to produce or assist task-specific upper limb movements, which enables them to engage in intensive goal-oriented training.

Design

Randomized, crossover, assessor-blinded, 5-week trial with follow-up at 18 weeks.

Setting

Rehabilitation university hospital.

Participants

Patients with chronic, severe stroke (N=11; mean age, 47.9y) more than 6 months poststroke (mean time since event, 46.3mo).

Interventions

Both EAMT and the control intervention (dose-matched, goal-oriented standard care) consisted of 10 sessions of 90 minutes per day, 5 sessions per week, for 2 weeks. After the first 10 sessions, group allocation was crossed over, and patients received a 1-week therapy break before receiving the new treatment.

Main Outcome Measures

Fugl-Meyer Motor Assessment for the Upper Extremity, Wolf Motor Function Test, spasticity, and 28-item Motor Activity Log.

Results

Forty-four individuals were recruited, of whom 11 were eligible and participated. Five patients received the experimental treatment before standard care, and 6 received standard care before the experimental treatment. EAMT produced higher improvements in the Fugl-Meyer scale than standard care (P<.05). Median improvements were 6.5 Fugl-Meyer points and 1 Fugl-Meyer point after the experimental treatment and standard care, respectively. The improvement was also significant in subjective reports of quality of movement and amount of use of the affected limb during activities of daily living (P<.05).

Conclusions

EAMT produces a clinically important impairment reduction in stroke patients with chronic, severe upper limb paresis.

Source: Electrically Assisted Movement Therapy in Chronic Stroke Patients With Severe Upper Limb Paresis: A Pilot, Single-Blind, Randomized Crossover Study – Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

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[ARTICLE] Impact of virtual reality games on psychological well-being and upper limb performance in adults with physical disabilities: A pilot study – Full Text PDF

ABSTRACT

Introduction: There is limited information regarding the effects of interactive virtual reality (VR) games on psychological and physical well-being among adults with physical disabilities. We aimed to examine the impact of VR games on psychological well-being, upper limb motor function and reaction time in adults with physical disabilities.

Methods: Fifteen participants completed the intervention using Wii VR games in this pilot study. Depressive, Anxiety and Stress Scales (DASS) and Capabilities of Upper Extremity (CUE) questionnaires were used to measure psychological well-being and upper limb motor function respectively. Upper limb reaction time was measured using reaction time test.

Results: Results showed that there was a significant difference (p<0.05) in DASS questionnaire and average reaction time score after intervention.

Conclusion: There is a potential for using interactive VR games as an exercise tool to improve psychological wellbeing and upper limb reaction time among adults with disabilities.

INTRODUCTION

Adults with disabilities around the world have been estimated to be around one billion, which consist of 15% of the world’s population.1 In Malaysia, there are approximately 300,000 adults with disabilities.2 Impairments in cardiovascular fitness, balance, motor control, sensation, proprioception and coordination are common in adults with physical disabilities.3 These impairments can lead to functional dependence, poor quality of life, limited mobility and decreased participation in leisure activities.

Opportunities to participate in regular exercise are especially important for groups that are less physically active than the
general population. This is because adults with disabilities are more prone to secondary complications such as pain, fatigue and de-conditioning.4 Virtual reality (VR) games are games played in a stimulated 3-dimensional (3D) environment. VR games have been developed for leisure activities but we found VR to be beneficial for rehabilitation in our local studies.5-7

Involvement in physical activity among people with disabilities is limited. Utilisation of technology may promote adherence, motivation and participation in physical activity and exercise programmes. However, as opposed to conventional rehabilitation and physiotherapy for adults with disabilities, evidence of VR games in improving function is limited. Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine the impact of VR games on psychological well-being, upper limb motor function and reaction time in adults with physical disabilities. …

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[WEB SITE] Regain Use of Arm After Stroke – National Stroke Association

Regain Use of Arm After Stroke
Technology Now Widely Available Means Moderately to Severely Weakened Arms and Hands May Function Again

Experiencing a stroke can be devastating.  Many are left with an arm so weak it seems useless.  The biggest loss can be your independence.

But for many, regaining use of your arm and hand and your independence is possible.  Myomo, a medical robotics company, has developed the MyoPro—a lightweight, non-invasive powered brace (orthosis). It is the only orthosis that, sensing a patient’s own neurological signals through sensors on the surface of the skin, can restore their ability to use their arms and hands so that they can return to work, live independently and reduce their cost of care.

Hundreds of patients have used it successfully.  It is recommended by clinicians at leading rehabilitation facilities and 20 VA hospitals. (MyoPro is not for everyone and your results may vary.)

Read the whitepaper Technology Giving Hope to Stroke Patients Now Widely Available and see videos of patients and physicians describing their experience with MyoPro.

LEARN MORE

Source: National Stroke Association

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[ARTICLE] A Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) and robot hybrid system for multi-joint coordinated upper limb rehabilitation after stroke – Full Text

Abstract

Background

It is a challenge to reduce the muscular discoordination in the paretic upper limb after stroke in the traditional rehabilitation programs.

Method

In this study, a neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) and robot hybrid system was developed for multi-joint coordinated upper limb physical training. The system could assist the elbow, wrist and fingers to conduct arm reaching out, hand opening/grasping and arm withdrawing by tracking an indicative moving cursor on the screen of a computer, with the support from the joint motors and electrical stimulations on target muscles, under the voluntary intention control by electromyography (EMG). Subjects with chronic stroke (n = 11) were recruited for the investigation on the assistive capability of the NMES-robot and the evaluation of the rehabilitation effectiveness through a 20-session device assisted upper limb training.

Results

In the evaluation, the movement accuracy measured by the root mean squared error (RMSE) during the tracking was significantly improved with the support from both the robot and NMES, in comparison with those without the assistance from the system (P < 0.05). The intra-joint and inter-joint muscular co-contractions measured by EMG were significantly released when the NMES was applied to the agonist muscles in the different phases of the limb motion (P < 0.05). After the physical training, significant improvements (P < 0.05) were captured by the clinical scores, i.e., Modified Ashworth Score (MAS, the elbow and the wrist), Fugl-Meyer Assessment (FMA), Action Research Arm Test (ARAT), and Wolf Motor Function Test (WMFT).

Conclusions

The EMG-driven NMES-robotic system could improve the muscular coordination at the elbow, wrist and fingers.

Background

Stroke is a main cause of long-term disability in adults [1]. Approximately 70 to 80% stroke survivors experienced impairments in their upper extremity, which greatly affects the independency of their daily living [23]. In the upper limb rehabilitation, it also has been found that the recovery of the proximal joints, e.g., the shoulder and the elbow, is much better than the distal, e.g., the wrist and fingers [45]. The main possible reasons are: 1) The spontaneous motor recovery in early stage after stroke is from the proximal to the distal; and 2) the proximal joints experienced more effective physical practices than the distal joints throughout the whole rehabilitation process, since the proximal joints are easier to be handled by a human therapist and are more voluntarily controllable by most of stroke survivors [2]. However, improved proximal functions in the upper limb without the synchronized recovery at the distal makes it hard to apply the improvements into meaningful daily activities, such as reaching out and grasping objects, which requires the coordination among the joints of the upper limb, including the hand. More effective rehabilitation methods which may benefit the functional restoration at both the proximal and the distal are desired for post-stroke upper limb rehabilitation.

Besides the weakness and spasticity of muscles in the paretic upper limb, discoordination among muscles is also one of the major impairments after stroke, mainly reflected as abnormal muscular co-activating patterns and loss of independent joint control [26]. Stereotyped movements of the entire limb with compensation from the proximal joints are commonly observed in most of persons with chronic stroke who have passed six months after the onset of the stroke, during which abnormal motor synergies were gradually developed. Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) is a technique that can generate limb movements by applying electrical current on the paretic muscles [7]. Post-stroke rehabilitation assisted with NMES has been found to effectively prevent muscle atrophy and improve muscle strength [7], and the stimulation also evokes sensory feedback to the brain during muscle contraction to facilitate motor relearning [8]. It has been found that NMES can improve muscular coordination in a paralysed limb by limiting ‘learned disuse’ that stroke survivors are gradually accustomed to managing their daily activities without using certain muscles, which has been considered as a significant barrier to maximizing the recovery of post-stroke motor function [9]. However, difficulties have been found in NMES alone to precisely activate groups of muscles for dynamic and coordinated limb movements with desired accuracy in kinematics, for example, speeds and trajectories. It is because most of the NMES systems adopted transcutaneous stimulation with surface electrodes only recruiting muscles located closely to the skin surface with limited stimulation channels [8]. Therefore, the muscular force evoked may not be enough to achieve the precise limb motions. However, limb motions with repeated and close-to-normal kinematic experiences are necessary to enhance the sensorimotor pathways in rehabilitation, which has been found to contribute to the motor recovery after stroke [10]. Furthermore, faster muscular fatigue would be experienced when using NMES with intensive stimuli, in comparison with the muscle contraction by biological neural stimulation [11].

The use of rehabilitation robots is one of the solutions to the shortage of affordable professional manpower in the industry of physical therapy, to cope with the long-term and labour-demanding physical practices [10]. In comparison with the NMES, robots can well control the limb movements with electrical motors. Various robots have been proposed for upper limb training after stroke [1213]. Among them, the robots with the involvement of voluntary efforts from persons after stroke demonstrated better rehabilitation effects than those with passive limb motions, i.e., the limb movements are totally dominated by the robots [10]. Physical training with passive motions only contributed to the temporary release of muscle spasticity; whereas, voluntary practices could improve the motor functions of the limb with longer sustainability [1014]. In our previous studies, we designed a series of voluntary intention-driven rehabilitation robotics for physical training at the elbow, the wrist and fingers [1415161718]. Residual electromyography (EMG) from the paretic muscles was used to control the robots to provide assistive torques to the limb for desired motions. The results of applying these robots in post-stroke physical training showed that the target joint could obtain motor improvements after the training; however, more significant improvements usually appeared at its neighbouring proximal joint mainly due to the compensatory exercises from the proximal muscles [1517]. In order to improve the muscle coordination during robot-assisted training, we integrated NMES into the EMG-driven robot as an intact system for wrist rehabilitation [1619]. It has been found that the combined assistance with both robot and NMES could reduce the excessive muscular activities at the elbow and improve the muscle activation levels related to the wrist, which was absent in the pure robot assisted training [16]. More recently, combined treatment with robot and NMES for the wrist by other research group also demonstrated more promising rehabilitation effectiveness in the upper limb functions than pure robot training [20]. However, most of the proposed devices are for single joint treatment, and cannot be used for multi-joint coordinated upper limb training. Furthermore, the training tasks provided by these devices are not easy to be directly translated into daily activities. We hypothesized that multi-joint coordinated upper limb training assisted by both NMES and robot could improve the muscular coordination in the whole upper limb and promote the synchronized recovery at both the proximal and distal joints. In this work, we designed a multi-joint robot and NMES hybrid system for the coordinated upper limb physical practice at the elbow, wrist and fingers. Then, the rehabilitation effectiveness with the assistance of the device was evaluated by a pilot single-group trial. EMG signals from target muscles were used for voluntary intention control for both the robot and NMES parts.

Methods

The NMES-robot system

The system developed is a wearable device as shown in Fig. 1. It can support a stroke subject to perform sequencing limb movements, i.e., 1) elbow extension, 2) wrist extension associated with hand open, 3) wrist flexion and 4) elbow flexion, with the purpose of simulating the coordination of the joints in arm reaching out, hand open for grasping, and withdrawing in daily activities. The starting position of the motion cycle was set at the elbow joint extended at 180° and the wrist extended at 45°, which is also the end point for a motion cycle. In each phase of the motion, visual guidance on a computer screen was provided to a subject by following a moving cursor on the computer screen with a constant angular velocity at 10°/s for the movement of the wrist and the elbow. The subject was asked to minimize the target and actual joint positions during the tracking. In the limb tasks, assistances would be provided from the mechanical motors and NMES at the same time related to the wrist and elbow flexion/extension. NMES alone was applied for finger extension, and there was no assistance from the system for finger flexion (hand grasp). It is because that the main impairment in the hand for persons with chronic stroke is hand open, and the hand grasp can be achieved passively due to spasticity in finger flexors, and one channel NMES has demonstrated the capacity to achieve the gross open of the hand with finger extensions in clinical practices [2]. With the attempt to reduce the overall weight of the system, especially at the distal joints, for the coordinated multi-joint training of the whole upper limb, finger motions were only supported by the NMES in this work. The robot and NMES combined effects on individual finger motions in chronic stroke have been investigated in our previous work [21]. A hanging system was used to lift up the testing limb to a horizontal level (Fig. 1), to compensate the limb gravity and the weight of the wearable part of the system (totally 895 g).

Fig. 1 a The schematic diagram of the experimental setup, b a photo of a subject who is conducting the tracking task with the NMES-robot, c a photo of a subject wearing the mechanical parts of the system, d the configuration of the NMES electrodes and EMG electrodes on a driving muscle. The driving muscles in the study are BIC, TRI, FCR and the muscle union of ECU-ED

Continue —> A Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) and robot hybrid system for multi-joint coordinated upper limb rehabilitation after stroke | Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation | Full Text

 

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[Abstract] A Randomized Controlled Study: Effectiveness of Functional Electrical Stimulation on Wrist and Finger Flexor Spasticity in Hemiplegia

Aim

The objective of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of functional electrical stimulation (FES) applied to the wrist and finger extensors for wrist flexor spasticity in hemiplegic patients.

Methods

Thirty stroke patients treated as inpatients were included in the study. Patients were randomly divided into study and control groups. FES was applied to the study group. Wrist range of movement, the Modified Ashworth Scale (MAS), Rivermead Motor Assessment (RMA), Brunnstrom (BS) hand neurophysiological staging, Barthel Index (BI), and Upper Extremity Function Test (UEFT) are outcome measures.

Results

There was no significant difference regarding range of motion (ROM) and BI values on admission between the groups. A significant difference was found in favor of the study group for these values at discharge. In the assessment within groups, there was no significant difference between admission and discharge RMA, BS hand, and UEFT scores in the control group, but there was a significant difference between the admission and discharge values for these parameters in the study group. Both groups showed improvement in MAS values on internal assessment.

Conclusion

It was determined that FES application is an effective method to reduce spasticity and to improve ROM, motor, and functional outcomes in hemiplegic wrist flexor spasticity.

 

Source: A Randomized Controlled Study: Effectiveness of Functional Electrical Stimulation on Wrist and Finger Flexor Spasticity in Hemiplegia – Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases

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[ARTICLE] The Effects of Navigated Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Simulation and Brunnstrom Movement Therapy on Upper Extremity Proprioceptive Sense and Spasticity in Stroke Patients: A Double-Blind Randomized Trial – Full Text PDF

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of various treatments (repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation and Brunnstrom movement therapy) on upper extremity proprioceptive sense and spasticity.

Methods: Twenty-one stroke patients were included in the study. The treatment group (Group 1; n=10) was administered navigated real repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), and the control group (Group 2; n=11) was administered sham rTMS by the first researcher. The patients in both groups had upper extremity exercises according to Brunnstrom movement therapy (BMT). The patients were assessed using the Brunnstrom recovery stages (BRS), proprioceptive sense assessment, and the modified Ashworth scale (MAS).

Results: Between the treatment group and control group patients, there were no significant statistical differences obtained from pre-treatment and postreatment tenth day, first month, and third month by BRS wrist, hand, and upper extremity stages. The intragroup comparison of the treatment group patients revealed a statistically significant difference between the pre-treatment and post-treatment third month BRS-hand and BRS-upper extremity stages.The pretreatment and postreatment tenth day and first month evaluations of the wrist proprioceptive sense of the groups presented a significant difference. There was no statistically significant difference between the groups in terms of MAS scores before and after treatment evaluations.

Conclusion: The rTMS and BMT approaches that were implemented in the study affected the proprioceptive sense of the wrist after the treatment and in the early period but did not change spasticity.

Keywords: Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, stroke, Brunnstrom recovery stages, proprioceptive sense, spasticity

INTRODUCTION

Proprioceptive sense is the individual’s ability to perceive the position and the motion of his/her body segments in the space via somatosensorial impulses sent by the receptors in the skin, muscles, and joints (1). Researchers have stated that the proprioceptive sense, which is the awareness sense of the body, consists of three fundamental senses: kinesthesia, joint position sense, and neuromuscular control (2). The proprioceptive sense plays a crucial role in carrying out and controlling daily activities, maintaining posture and balance, joint stability, and motor learning (3, 4). Neuromuscular control is affected by proprioceptive inefficiencies apart from motor dysfunctions. It has been shown that proprioceptive knowledge is of extreme importance for the neural control of motion and that the upper extremity proprioceptive sense is commonly decreased or evanished following stroke (5). It has been explained that the proprioceptive deficit incidence rate is 50-65% in stroke patients, which affects daily activities and quality of life negatively (6, 7). It has been stated that proprioceptive and motor deficits have different recovery rates in the first six months following stroke (8). In stroke patients, sensorimotor learning calls for a sound somatosensorial impulse, which is possible through sensorimotor rehabilitation (9). The Bobath, Brunnstrom, Johnstone, and Rood proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation techniques and the motor learning method, commonly utilized by physiotherapists, are based upon treating sensorimotor functions (10). There exist several recent studies that report that the pain-free, non-invasive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) application decreases spasticity or that it has no effect (11-13). Stroke rehabilitation is provided by decreasing the transcallosal inhibition from the unaffected motor cortex to the affected motor cortex via 1 Hz rTMS applied on the motor cortex (14, 15). Whereas there is a limited number of studies in the literature with various results on the effects of rTMS and physiotherapy combination on spasticity, a study dealing with the effect of rTMS and physiotherapy combination on proprioceptive sense has not been found. This study was planned to investigate the effect of rTMS and Brunnstrom movement therapy (BMT) on upper extremity proprioceptive sense and spasticity (11, 12).

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