Exoskeleton training expands options for stroke rehab

A team of New Jersey researchers has demonstrated that high-dose therapy gait training using robotic exoskeletons may aid early rehabilitation for acute stroke.

Photo
Researchers used the Ekso GT to deliver high-dose gait training during inpatient rehabilitation for acute stroke.
Source: Ekso Bionics, Inc.

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 Karen Nolan, PhD, 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.”

Subscribe to our newsletter

Related articles

Robot-assisted therapy can help treat stroke survivors

Robot-assisted therapy can help treat stroke survivors

Exoskeleton-assisted rehabilitation can be beneficial in treating stroke survivors.

FDA authorized brain-computer interface for stroke rehab

FDA authorized brain-computer interface for stroke rehab

Neurolutions IpsiHand exoskeleton uniquely leverages brain-computer interface technology for chronic stroke rehabilitation

Exoskeleton and brain-machine interface boost stroke rehab

Exoskeleton and brain-machine interface boost stroke rehab

Researchers have developed a system that combines a brain-computer interface and a robotic arm that responds to the actual intentions of treated patients.

Exosuit makes stroke survivors walk farther

Exosuit makes stroke survivors walk farther

Research study in stroke survivors with chronic hemiparesis shows soft exosuit technology to bring immediate improvements in walking speed and endurance tests.

Stroke patients: robotic arm aids in rehabilitation

Stroke patients: robotic arm aids in rehabilitation

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) recently developed a robotic arm to facilitate self-help and upper-limb mobile rehabilitation for stroke patients.

Gait training with exoskeleton may improve function after stroke

Gait training with exoskeleton may improve function after stroke

Preliminary findings by Kessler researchers show that the use of a robotic exoskeleton during inpatient rehabilitation for acute stroke may improve function.

Multiple sclerosis: Exoskeleton therapy improves mobility

Multiple sclerosis: Exoskeleton therapy improves mobility

Experts at Kessler Foundation led the first pilot randomized controlled trial of robotic-exoskeleton assisted exercise rehabilitation effects on mobility, cognition, and brain connectivity in people with substantial MS-related disability.

Ultra-thin sensitive strain sensors

Ultra-thin sensitive strain sensors

Researchers have developed a new range of nanomaterial strain sensors that are 10 times more sensitive when measuring minute movements, compared to existing technology.

Brain injury: Exoskeleton training improves walking

Brain injury: Exoskeleton training improves walking

Researchers have shown that gait training using robotic exoskeletons improved motor function in adolescents and young adults with acquired brain injury.

Popular articles

Photo

The “RoboWig” untangle your hair

Nurses typically spend 18 to 40 percent of their time performing direct patient care tasks, oftentimes for many patients and with little time to spare. Personal care robots that brush your hair could provide substantial help and relief.

Subscribe to Newsletter