“Smart” robot technology can boost stroke rehabilitation

Amy Norton
Health Day Reporter

Wednesday, July 19, 2017 (HealthDay News)-Scientists say they have developed a “smart” robot harness that may make it easier for people to learn to walk again after the next stroke Or Spinal cord injury..

According to researchers, harnesses can be fine-tuned to suit individual patients to help them find something more natural. walking The pattern as they go through rehab.

In early tests when 26 patients recovered Spinal cord injury Or strokeAccording to a new report, this technology looked promising.

In general, this study found that this system allowed patients to walk more naturally, move better in balance and coordination.

The researchers also saw immediate effects among five patients with SCI. Immediately after the one-hour training with the harness, the patient was able to move more easily using conventional assistive devices such as crutches and walkers.

Today, rehabilitation is often done in the traditional way, with the therapist (or more) supporting the patient, learning to slowly place one foot in front of the other.

Dr. Pretty Ragavan, who directs exercise recovery research at NYU Langone’s Rusk Rehabilitation in New York City, said it was a particularly difficult process if the patient was more seriously injured.

“If you need a few people to support your patients, even taking a step forward can be very tedious,” said Raghavan, who was not involved in the study.

So she said the robot harness system was developed to assist the therapist. They basically consist of a ceiling-mounted harness that supports the patient on a treadmill.

“The problem is big,” Ragavan said. Clinical trial Found it [the systems] Do not improve patient outcomes beyond a therapist’s low-tech approach. “

What’s “exciting” about the new study is that it may reveal why current harness systems aren’t improving recovery.

Gregoire Courtine, Principal Researcher for the study, explains: Current harnesses apply upward force and work against gravity. However, it also causes the patient’s body to shift somewhat backwards, resulting in instability, said Courtine, a neuroscientist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Therefore, the researchers stated that the backward force needs to be balanced with the accurately calculated forward force. They have developed an algorithm that can do that for each patient.

As a result, smart harnesses “reestablish the natural interaction between the pedestrian and gravity,” Courtine said.

The harness is mounted on the ceiling, allowing the patient to move back and forth and left and right.

“We take it for granted. When we walk, there is a delicate balance between the force we exert on the ground and the force it exerts on us,” Ragavan said.

She said these early discoveries were an “interesting first step”, but important questions remain.

Raghavan says more extensive research is needed to compare smart harnesses to the standard version. And finally, she added, trials need to prove that a high-tech approach improves patient recovery.

Courtine agreed and said such a trial was planned.

He and his colleagues said they are already working with the European company Motek Medical to commercialize a new version of the robot harness (called RYSEN). Courtine and several collaborators are the inventors of patents filed by institutions that cover the technology. RYSEN was also scheduled to be unveiled at an international conference on rehabilitation robotics this week in London.

It is not clear when this approach will become widely available. Raghavan warned that it could be a “long way” from the research environment to the real world.

But more and more, researchers are looking for techniques for ways to help patients recover from paralyzed limb use.

According to Raghavan, a recent development is the “exoskeleton” of robots used in some specialized centers. The device is attached directly to the affected body part to facilitate movement during the rehabilitation session.

Almost 800,000 Americans are suffering stroke Every year, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Prevention.. Many survivors have prolonged disabilities that require rehabilitation.

The survey results were released on July 19th. Scientific translation medicine..

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Source: Gregoire Courtine, Ph.D. , Neuroscientist, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne, Switzerland. Preeti Raghavan, MD, Director, Exercise Recovery Research, Rusk Rehabilitation, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City. July 19, 2017, Scientific translation medicine

“Smart” robot technology can boost stroke rehabilitation

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