A Paradigm Shift: Rehabilitation Robotics, Cognitive Skills Training, and Function After Stroke.
ABSTRACT: Introduction: Robot-assisted therapy for upper extremity (UE) impairments post-stroke has yielded modest gains in motor capacity and little evidence of improved UE performance during activities of daily living. A paradigm shift that embodies principles of motor learning and exercise dependent neuroplasticity may improve robot therapy outcomes by incorporating active problem solving, salience of trained tasks, and strategies to facilitate the transfer of acquired motor skills to use of the paretic arm and hand during everyday activities. Objective: To pilot and test the feasibility of a novel therapy protocol, the Active Learning Program for Stroke (ALPS), designed to complement repetitive, robot-assisted therapy for the paretic UE. Key ALPS ingredients included training in the use of cognitive strategies (e.g., STOP, THINK, DO, CHECK) and a goal-directed home action plan (HAP) to facilitate UE self-management and skill transfer. Methods: Ten participants with moderate impairments in UE function >6 months after stroke received eighteen 1-h treatment sessions 2-3/x week over 6-8 weeks. In addition to ALPS training, individuals were randomly assigned to either robot-assisted therapy (RT) or robot therapy and task-oriented training (RT-TOT) to trial whether the inclusion of TOT reinforced participants' understanding and implementation of ALPS strategies. Results: Statistically significant group differences were found for the upper limb subtest of the Fugl-Meyer Assessment (FMA-UE) at discharge and one-month follow-up favoring the RT group. Analyses to examine overall effects of the ALPS protocol in addition to RT and RT-TOT showed significant and moderate to large effects on the FMA-UE, Motor Activity Log, Wolf Motor Function Test, and hand portion of the Stroke Impact Scale. Conclusion: The ALPS protocol was the first to extend cognitive strategy training to robot-assisted therapy. The intervention in this development of concept pilot trial was feasible and well-tolerated, with good potential to optimize paretic UE performance following robot-assisted therapy.
Project description:Robot-assisted therapy (RT) is a widely used intervention approach to enhance motor recovery in patients after stroke, but its effects on functional improvement remained uncertain. Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) is one potential adjuvant intervention approach to RT that could directly activate the stimulated muscles and improve functional use of the paretic hand.This was a randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled study. Thirty-nine individuals with chronic stroke were randomly assigned to the RT combined with NMES (RT?+?ES) or to RT with sham stimulation (RT?+?Sham) groups. The participants completed the intervention 90 to 100 minutes/day, 5 days/week for 4 weeks. The outcome measures included the upper extremity Fugl-Meyer Assessment (UE-FMA), modified Ashworth scale (MAS), Wolf Motor Function Test (WMFT), Motor Activity Log (MAL), and Stroke Impact Scale 3.0 (SIS). All outcome measures were assessed before and after intervention, and the UE-FMA, MAL, and SIS were reassessed at 3 months of follow-up.Compared with the RT?+?Sham group, the RT?+?ES group demonstrated greater improvements in wrist flexor MAS score, WMFT quality of movement, and the hand function domain of the SIS. For other outcome measures, both groups improved significantly after the interventions, but no group differences were found.RT?+?ES induced significant benefits in reducing wrist flexor spasticity and in hand movement quality in patients with chronic stroke.ClinicalTrials.gov. NCT01655446.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Hand function is often impaired after stroke, strongly affecting the ability to perform daily activities. Upper limb robotic devices have been developed to complement rehabilitation therapy offered to persons who suffered a stroke, but they rarely focus on the training of hand sensorimotor function. The primary goal of this study was to evaluate whether robot-assisted therapy of hand function following a neurocognitive approach (i.e., combining motor training with somatosensory and cognitive tasks) produces an equivalent decrease in upper limb motor impairment compared to dose-matched conventional neurocognitive therapy, when embedded in the rehabilitation program of inpatients in the subacute stage after stroke. METHODS:A parallel-group, randomized controlled trial was conducted on subjects with subacute stroke receiving either conventional or robot-assisted neurocognitive hand therapy using a haptic device. Therapy was provided for 15, 45-min sessions over four weeks, nested within the standard therapy program. Primary outcome was the change from baseline in the upper extremity part of the Fugl-Meyer Assessment (FMA-UE) after the intervention, which was compared between groups using equivalence testing. Secondary outcome measures included upper limb motor, sensory and cognitive assessments, delivered therapy dose, as well as questionnaires on user technology acceptance. RESULTS:Thirty-three participants with stroke were enrolled. 14 subjects in the robot-assisted and 13 subjects in the conventional therapy group completed the study. At the end of intervention, week 8 and week 32, the robot-assisted/conventional therapy group improved by 7.14/6.85, 7.79/7.31, and 8.64/8.08 points on the FMA-UE, respectively, establishing that motor recovery in the robot-assisted group is non-inferior to that in the control group. CONCLUSIONS:Neurocognitive robot-assisted therapy of hand function allows for a non-inferior motor recovery compared to conventional dose-matched neurocognitive therapy when performed during inpatient rehabilitation in the subacute stage. This allows the early familiarization of subjects with stroke to the use of such technologies, as a first step towards minimal therapist supervision in the clinic, or directly at home after hospital discharge, to help increase the dose of hand therapy for persons with stroke. TRIAL REGISTRATION:EUDAMED database (CIV-13-02-009921), clinicaltrials.gov (NCT02096445). Registered 26 March 2014 - Retrospectively registered, https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02096445.
Project description: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.Multicenter randomized controlled trial.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.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.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.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Robot-based rehabilitation for persons post-stroke may improve arm function and daily-life activities as measured by clinical scales, but its effects on motor strategies during functional tasks are still poorly investigated. This study aimed at assessing the effects of robot-therapy versus arm-specific physiotherapy in persons post-stroke on motor strategies derived from upper body instrumented kinematic analysis, and on arm function measured by clinical scales. METHODS:Forty persons in the sub-acute and chronic stage post-stroke were recruited. This sample included all those subjects, enrolled in a larger bi-center study, who underwent instrumented kinematic analysis and who were randomized in Center 2 into Robot (R_Group) and Control Group (C_Group). R_Group received robot-assisted training. C_Group received arm-specific treatment delivered by a physiotherapist. Pre- and post-training assessment included clinical scales and instrumented kinematic analysis of arm and trunk during a virtual untrained task simulating the transport of an object onto a shelf. Instrumented outcomes included shoulder/elbow coordination, elbow extension and trunk sagittal compensation. Clinical outcomes included Fugl-Meyer Motor Assessment of Upper Extremity (FM-UE), modified Ashworth Scale (MAS) and Functional Independence Measure (FIM). RESULTS:R_Group showed larger post-training improvements of shoulder/elbow coordination (Cohen's d?=?-?0.81, p?=?0.019), elbow extension (Cohen's d?=?-?0.71, p?=?0.038), and trunk movement (Cohen's d?=?-?1.12, p?=?0.002). Both groups showed comparable improvements in clinical scales, except proximal muscles MAS that decreased more in R_Group (Cohen's d?=?-?0.83, p?=?0.018). Ancillary analyses on chronic subjects confirmed these results and revealed larger improvements after robot-therapy in the proximal portion of FM-UE (Cohen's d?=?1.16, p?=?0.019). CONCLUSIONS:Robot-assisted rehabilitation was as effective as arm-specific physiotherapy in reducing arm impairment (FM-UE) in persons post-stroke, but it was more effective in improving motor control strategies adopted during an untrained task involving vertical movements not practiced during training. Specifically, robot therapy induced larger improvements of shoulder/elbow coordination and greater reduction of abnormal trunk sagittal movements. The beneficial effects of robot therapy seemed more pronounced in chronic subjects. Future studies on a larger sample should be performed to corroborate present findings. TRIAL REGISTRATION:www.ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03530358. Registered 21 May 2018. Retrospectively registered.
Project description:Brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV) evaluates arterial stiffness and also predicts early outcome in stroke patients. The objectives of this study were to investigate arterial stiffness of subacute nonfunctional ambulatory stroke patients and to compare the effects of robot-assisted gait therapy (RAGT) combined with rehabilitation therapy (RT) on arterial stiffness and functional recovery with those of RT alone.The RAGT group (N = 30) received 30 minutes of robot-assisted gait therapy and 30 minutes of conventional RT, and the control group (N = 26) received 60 minutes of RT, 5 times a week for 4 weeks. baPWV was measured and calculated using an automated device. The patients also performed a symptom-limited graded exercise stress test using a bicycle ergometer, and parameters of cardiopulmonary fitness were recorded. Clinical outcome measures were categorized into 4 categories: activities of daily living, balance, ambulatory function, and paretic leg motor function and were evaluated before and after the 4-week intervention.Both groups exhibited significant functional recovery in all clinical outcome measures after the 4-week intervention. However, peak aerobic capacity, peak heart rate, exercise tolerance test duration, and baPWV improved only in the RAGT group, and the improvements in baPWV and peak aerobic capacity were more noticeable in the RAGT group than in the control group.Robot-assisted gait therapy combined with conventional rehabilitation therapy represents an effective method for reversing arterial stiffness and improving peak aerobic capacity in subacute stroke patients with totally dependent ambulation. However, further large-scale studies with longer term follow-up periods are warranted to measure the effects of RAGT on secondary prevention after stroke.
Project description:Upper limb recovery is one of the main goals of post-stroke rehabilitation due to its importance for autonomy in Activities of Daily Living (ADL). Although the efficacy of upper limb Robot-assisted Therapy (RT) is well established in literature, the impact of the initial status of the patient on the effects of RT is still understudied. This paper aims to identify whether demographic, clinical and motor characteristics of stroke patients may influence the ability to independently perform ADL after RT.A retrospective study was conducted on sixty stroke patients who conducted planar upper limb goal-directed tasks with the InMotion 2.0 robot. The RT was administered 5 days/week for 4 weeks and each session lasted 45 minutes. The primary outcome measure was the Modified Barthel Index (BI), dichotomized into favourable (BI ?75) and unfavourable (BI<75) outcomes. The potential predictors were the demographic and clinical records, and the following clinical assessment scores: Modified Ashworth Scale-Shoulder (MAS-S); Modified Ashworth Scale-Elbow (MAS-E); Fugl-Meyer Assessment Upper Extremity (FMA-UE); upper limb section of the Motricity Index (MIul); total passive Range Of Motion (pROM); and Box and Block Test (BBT).Statistical analysis showed that the BBT, FMA-UE and MIul scores were significant predictors of a favourable outcome in ADL. The cut-off scores of the independent variables were calculated (FMA-UE = 32; MIul = 48; BBT = 3) with respect to the dichotomic BI outcome. Their robustness was assessed with the Fragility Index (FMA-UE = 2; MIul = 3; BBT = 7), showing that BBT is the most robust predictor of favourable BI outcome. Moreover, subjects with all predictors higher than the cut-off scores had higher probability to increase their independence in ADL at the end of the therapy. Demographic records, spasticity and pROM were not identified as predictors.Stroke patients with greater manual dexterity and less impairment appear to have a higher probability of achieving clinically significant ADL outcomes after upper limb RT. The obtained results can help to optimise the management of RT treatment planning. Further studies on a larger number of patients with a long-term follow up are recommended in order to evaluate other potential predictors and to validate the results.
Project description:Although the effects of robot-assisted arm training after stroke are promising, the relative effects of unilateral (URT) vs. bilateral (BRT) robot-assisted arm training remain uncertain. This study compared the effects of URT vs. BRT on upper extremity (UE) control, trunk compensation, and function in patients with chronic stroke.This was a single-blinded, randomized controlled trial. The intervention was implemented at 4 hospitals. Fifty-three patients with stroke were randomly assigned to URT, BRT, or control treatment (CT). Each group received UE training for 90 to 105 min/day, 5 days/week, for 4 weeks. The kinematic variables for arm motor control and trunk compensation included normalized movement time, normalized movement units, and the arm-trunk contribution slope in unilateral and bilateral tasks. Motor function and daily function were measured by the Wolf Motor Function Test (WMFT), Motor Activity Log (MAL), and ABILHAND Questionnaire.The BRT and CT groups elicited significantly larger slope values (i.e., less trunk compensation) at the start of bilateral reaching than the URT group. URT led to significantly better effects on WMFT-Time than BRT. Differences in arm control kinematics and performance on the MAL and ABILHAND among the 3 groups were not significant.BRT and URT resulted in differential improvements in specific UE/trunk performance in patients with stroke. BRT elicited larger benefits than URT on reducing compensatory trunk movements at the beginning of reaching. In contrast, URT produced better improvements in UE temporal efficiency. These relative effects on movement kinematics, however, did not translate into differential benefits in daily functions.ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT00917605.
Project description:We investigated the training effects of interlimb force coupling training on paretic upper extremity outcomes in patients with chronic stroke and analyzed the relationship between motor recovery of the paretic hand, arm and functional performances on paretic upper limb.A randomized controlled trial with outcome assessment at baseline and after 4 weeks of intervention.Taipei Veterans General Hospital, National Yang-Ming University.Thirty-three subjects with chronic stroke were recruited and randomly assigned to training (n = 16) and control groups (n = 17).The computer-aided interlimb force coupling training task with visual feedback included different grip force generation methods on both hands.The Barthel Index (BI), the upper extremity motor control Fugl-Meyer Assessment (FMA-UE), the Motor Assessment Score (MAS), and the Wolf Motor Function Test (WMFT). All assessments were executed by a blinded evaluator, and data management and statistical analysis were also conducted by a blinded researcher.The training group demonstrated greater improvement on the FMA-UE (p<.001), WMFT (p<.001), MAS (p = .004) and BI (p = .037) than the control group after 4 weeks of intervention. In addition, a moderate correlation was found between the improvement of scores for hand scales of the FMA and other portions of the FMA UE (r = .528, p = .018) or MAS (r = .596, p = .015) in the training group.Computer-aided interlimb force coupling training improves the motor recovery of a paretic hand, and facilitates motor control and enhances functional performance in the paretic upper extremity of people with chronic stroke.ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02247674.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) has been used to augment the efficacy of task-oriented training (TOT) after stroke. Bilateral intervention approaches have also been shown to be effective in augmenting motor function after stroke. The purpose of this study was to compare the efficacy of bilateral TENS combined with TOT versus unilateral TENS combined with TOT in improving lower-limb motor function in subjects with chronic stroke. METHODS AND RESULTS:Eighty subjects were randomly assigned to bilateral TENS+TOT or to unilateral TENS+TOT and underwent 20 sessions of training over a 10-week period. The outcome measures included the maximal strength of the lower-limb muscles and the results of the Lower Extremity Motor Coordination Test, Berg Balance Scale, Step Test, and Timed Up and Go test. Each participant was assessed at baseline, after 10 and 20 sessions of training and 3 months after the cessation of training. The subjects in the bilateral TENS+TOT group showed greater improvement in paretic ankle dorsiflexion strength (?=1.32; P=0.032) and in the completion time for the Timed Up and Go test (?=-1.54; P=0.004) than those in the unilateral TENS+TOT group. However, there were no significant between-group differences for other outcome measures. CONCLUSIONS:The application of bilateral TENS over the common peroneal nerve combined with TOT was superior to the application of unilateral TENS combined with TOT in improving paretic ankle dorsiflexion strength after 10 sessions of training and in improving the completion time for the Timed Up and Go test after 20 sessions of training. CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION:URL: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT02152813.
Project description:Objective. The aim of this exploratory pilot study is to test the effects of bilateral tDCS combined with upper extremity robot-assisted therapy (RAT) on stroke survivors. Methods. We enrolled 23 subjects who were allocated to 2 groups: RAT + real tDCS and RAT + sham-tDCS. Each patient underwent 10 sessions (5 sessions/week) over two weeks. Outcome measures were collected before and after treatment: (i) Fugl-Meyer Assessment-Upper Extremity (FMA-UE), (ii) Box and Block Test (BBT), and (iii) Motor Activity Log (MAL). Results. Both groups reported a significant improvement in FMA-UE score after treatment (p < 0.01). No significant between-groups differences were found in motor function. However, when the analysis was adjusted for stroke type and duration, a significant interaction effect (p < 0.05) was detected, showing that stroke duration (acute versus chronic) and type (cortical versus subcortical) modify the effect of tDCS and robotics on motor function. Patients with chronic and subcortical stroke benefited more from the treatments than patients with acute and cortical stroke, who presented very small changes. Conclusion. The additional use of bilateral tDCS to RAT seems to have a significant beneficial effect depending on the duration and type of stroke. These results should be verified by additional confirmatory studies.