Robotic exoskeleton training expands options for stroke rehabilitation

January 29, 2021

East Hanover, NJ. January 29, 2021. A team of New Jersey researchers has demonstrated that high-dose therapy gait training using robotic exoskeletons may aid early rehabilitation for acute stroke. The article, "Robotic exoskeleton gait training during acute stroke inpatient rehabilitation" (doi: 10.339/fnbot.2020.581815), was published October 30, 2020 in Frontiers in Neurorobotics is available open access at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnbot.2020.581815/full

The authors are Karen Nolan, PhD, Kiran Karunakaran, PhD, and Kathleen Chervin, of Kessler Foundation, Michael Monfett, MD, of Children's Specialized Hospital, Radhika Bapineedu, MD, and Neil N. Jasey Jr, MD, of Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, and Mooyeon Oh-Park, MD, of Burke Rehabilitation Hospital, formerly with Kessler. Drs. Nolan and Karunakaran are also affiliated with Children's Specialized Hospital. Kessler scientists and clinicians have faculty appointments at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

The need for stroke rehabilitation is tremendous, given the large numbers of stroke survivors with deficits in mobility, balance and coordination that limit their activities of daily living. Advances in robotics and biomedical engineering are expanding the options for rehabilitative care. Researchers are applying new technologies to gait training that may offer advantages over traditional labor intensive physical therapy. This inpatient study of a robotic exoskeleton (Ekso GT, Ekso Bionics, Inc,) demonstrated the potential to improve gait training after acute stroke toward the goal of earlier recovery of motor function.

Participants included 44 individuals (ages 18 to 82 years) admitted to Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation for acute stroke. Half received conventional standard of care (SOC), and half received SOC with an option for overground gait training in the Ekso GT (RE+SOC). Both groups received the same amount of overall therapy time. Overground gait training in the exoskeleton was supervised by a licensed physical therapist who adjusted the variable bilateral assistance of the Ekso GT according to each individual's progress. Outcome measures were total distance walked during inpatient rehabilitation and functional independence measure (FIM) score. The RE-SOC group trained in the Ekso GT at least three times during their stay.

"We found that gait training in the exoskeleton allowed us to increase the dose of gait training without increasing the duration of inpatient rehabilitation," said Dr. Nolan, assistant director of the Center for Mobility and Rehabilitation Engineering Research at Kessler Foundation. "Because overground walking in the exoskeleton requires active effort on the part of the participant," she added, "early intervention with this type of gait training promotes brain plasticity that may lead to greater functional improvements and more lasting effects when combined with conventional training."
-end-
Funding sources: Kessler Foundation

Learn about the Foundation's ongoing studies in stroke rehabilitation research: https://kesslerfoundation.org/research/studies/stroke

Contact our recruitment specialist at: ResearchStudies@KesslerFoundation.org

About Kessler Foundation

Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility and long-term outcomes, including employment, for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for employment for people with disabilities. For more information, visit KesslerFoundation.org.

For more information, or to interview an expert, contact: Carolann Murphy, 973.324.8382, CMurphy@KesslerFoundation.org

Kessler Foundation

Related Rehabilitation Articles from Brightsurf:

Simple measurement could transform injury rehabilitation
Researchers from Edith Cowan University in Western Australia have found a simple way to analyse the effectiveness of exercise training that could one day be conducted easily at a local gym or physio.

Vocational rehabilitation helps lift people with disabilities out of poverty
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits do not always keep individuals with disabilities out of poverty.

Study examines the benefits of virtual stroke rehabilitation programs
While virtual medical and rehabilitation appointments seemed novel when COVID-19 first appeared, they now seem to be part of the new norm and might be paving the way to the future.

How rehabilitation impacts research and care of patients with cerebral palsy
Cerebral palsy (CP) is one of the most common developmental movement disorders in children.

Smartphone accelerometers could help in resistance workouts and rehabilitation protocols
Smartphone accelerometers are effective tools to measure key time-under-tension indicators of muscle training -- and could help in resistance-based workouts and rehabilitation protocols.

Many children in intensive care may not be getting rehabilitation therapy, study shows
Adult patients in hospital intensive care units (ICUs) are often given rehabilitation therapy and urged to keep mobile from an early point in their hospital stays.

Movement study could be significant in helping understand brain rehabilitation
Researchers from the University of Plymouth (UK) and Technical University of Munich (Germany) say their study could be particularly important for those working in rehabilitation and helping people to recover after neurological conditions.

Only 1 in 4 Medicare patients participate in cardiac rehabilitation
Only about 24% of Medicare patients who could receive outpatient cardiac rehabilitation participate in the program.

A conversation could be the answer to successful rehabilitation of prisoners
Researchers have found people on the brink of release from a prison sentence have lost any sense of being connected to the outside world and, as a result, become prejudiced towards wider society.

An artificial skin that can help rehabilitation and enhance virtual reality
EPFL scientists have developed a soft artificial skin that provides haptic feedback and -- thanks to a sophisticated self-sensing mechanism -- has the potential to instantaneously adapt to a wearer's movements.

Read More: Rehabilitation News and Rehabilitation Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.