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Journal: Journal of neuroengineering and rehabilitation


Direct brain control of overground walking in those with paraplegia due to spinal cord injury (SCI) has not been achieved. Invasive brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) may provide a permanent solution to this problem by directly linking the brain to lower extremity prostheses. To justify the pursuit of such invasive systems, the feasibility of BCI controlled overground walking should first be established in a noninvasive manner. To accomplish this goal, we developed an electroencephalogram (EEG)-based BCI to control a functional electrical stimulation (FES) system for overground walking and assessed its performance in an individual with paraplegia due to SCI.

Concepts: Central nervous system, Brain, Neuroscience, Cerebrospinal fluid, Spinal cord injury, Brain–computer interface, Neuroprosthetics, Brain-computer interfacing


This study, conducted in a group of nine chronic patients with right-side hemiparesis after stroke, investigated the effects of a robotic-assisted rehabilitation training with an upper limb robotic exoskeleton for the restoration of motor function in spatial reaching movements. The robotic assisted rehabilitation training was administered for a period of 6 weeks including reaching and spatial antigravity movements. To assess the carry-over of the observed improvements in movement during training into improved function, a kinesiologic assessment of the effects of the training was performed by means of motion and dynamic electromyographic analysis of reaching movements performed before and after training. The same kinesiologic measurements were performed in a healthy control group of seven volunteers, to determine a benchmark for the experimental observations in the patients' group. Moreover degree of functional impairment at the enrolment and discharge was measured by clinical evaluation with upper limb Fugl-Meyer Assessment scale (FMA, 0-66 points), Modified Ashworth scale (MA, 0-60 pts) and active ranges of motion. The robot aided training induced, independently by time of stroke, statistical significant improvements of kinesiologic (movement time, smoothness of motion) and clinical (4.6 ± 4.2 increase in FMA, 3.2 ± 2.1 decrease in MA) parameters, as a result of the increased active ranges of motion and improved co-contraction index for shoulder extension/flexion. Kinesiologic parameters correlated significantly with clinical assessment values, and their changes after the training were affected by the direction of motion (inward vs. outward movement) and position of target to be reached (ipsilateral, central and contralateral peripersonal space). These changes can be explained as a result of the motor recovery induced by the robotic training, in terms of regained ability to execute single joint movements and of improved interjoint coordination of elbow and shoulder joints.

Concepts: Time, Scientific method, Evaluation, Measurement, Assessment, Joint, Upper limb, Clavicle


BACKGROUND: A common goal of persons post-stroke is to regain community ambulation. The plantar flexor muscles play an important role in propulsion generation and swing initiation as previous musculoskeletal simulations have shown. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate that simulation results quantifying changes in plantar flexor activation and function in individuals post-stroke were consistent with (1) the purpose of an intervention designed to enhance plantar flexor function and (2) expected muscle function during gait based on previous literature. METHODS: Three-dimensional, forward dynamic simulations were created to determine the changes in model activation and function of the paretic ankle plantar flexor muscles for eight patients post-stroke after a 12-weeks FastFES gait retraining program. RESULTS: An median increase of 0.07 (Range [-0.01,0.22]) was seen in simulated activation averaged across all plantar flexors during the double support phase of gait from pre- to post-intervention. A concurrent increase in walking speed and plantar flexor induced forward center of mass acceleration by the plantar flexors was seen post-intervention for seven of the eight subject simulations. Additionally, post-training, the plantar flexors had an simulated increase in contribution to knee flexion acceleration during double support. CONCLUSIONS: For the first time, muscle-actuated musculoskeletal models were used to simulate the effect of a gait retraining intervention on post-stroke muscle model predicted activation and function. The simulations showed a new pattern of simulated activation for the plantar flexor muscles after training, suggesting that the subjects activated these muscles with more appropriate timing following the intervention. Functionally, simulations calculated that the plantar flexors provided greater contribution to knee flexion acceleration after training, which is important for increasing swing phase knee flexion and foot clearance.

Concepts: Knee, Sartorius muscle, Flexion, Extension, Semitendinosus muscle, Semimembranosus muscle, Popliteus muscle, Musculoskeletal system


Background Current inertial motion capture systems are rarely used in biomedical applications. The attachment and connection of the sensors with cables is often a complex and time consuming task. Moreover, it is prone to errors, because each sensor has to be attached to a predefined body segment. By using wireless inertial sensors and automatic identification of their positions on the human body, the complexity of the set-up can be reduced and incorrect attachments are avoided.We present a novel method for the automatic identification of inertial sensors on human body segments during walking. This method allows the user to place (wireless) inertial sensors on arbitrary body segments. Next, the user walks for just a few seconds and the segment to which each sensor is attached is identified automatically.MethodsWalking data was recorded from ten healthy subjects using an Xsens MVN Biomech system with full-body configuration (17 inertial sensors). Subjects were asked to walk for about 6 seconds at normal walking speed (about 5 km/h). After rotating the sensor data to a global coordinate frame with x-axis in walking direction, y-axis pointing left and z-axis vertical, RMS, mean, and correlation coefficient features were extracted from x-, y- and z-components and magnitudes of the accelerations, angular velocities and angular accelerations. As a classifier, a decision tree based on the C4.5 algorithm was developed using Weka (Waikato Environment for Knowledge Analysis).Results and conclusions After testing the algorithm with 10-fold cross-validation using 31 walkingtrials (involving 527 sensors), 514 sensors were correctly classified (97.5%). When a decision tree for alower body plus trunk configuration (8 inertial sensors) was trained andtested using 10-fold cross-validation, 100% of the sensors were correctly identified. This decision tree wasalso tested on walking trials of 7 patients (17 walking trials) after anterior cruciate ligamentreconstruction, which also resulted in 100% correct identification, thus illustrating the robustness of themethod.

Concepts: Human body, Classical mechanics, Walking, Motion capture, Decision tree learning


Carrying load alters normal walking, imposes additional stress to the musculoskeletal system, and results in an increase in energy consumption and a consequent earlier onset of fatigue. This phenomenon is largely due to increased work requirements in lower extremity joints, in turn requiring higher muscle activation. The aim of this work was to assess the biomechanical and physiological effects of a multi-joint soft exosuit that applies assistive torques to the biological hip and ankle joints during loaded walking.

Concepts: Energy, Force, Anatomy, Human anatomy, Classical mechanics, Joints, Joule


Stroke is one of the most common causes of acquired disability, leaving numerous adults with cognitive and motor impairments, and affecting patients' capability to live independently. There is substancial evidence on post-stroke cognitive rehabilitation benefits, but its implementation is generally limited by the use of paper-and-pencil methods, insufficient personalization, and suboptimal intensity. Virtual reality tools have shown potential for improving cognitive rehabilitation by supporting carefully personalized, ecologically valid tasks through accessible technologies. Notwithstanding important progress in VR-based cognitive rehabilitation systems, specially with Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s) simulations, there is still a need of more clinical trials for its validation. In this work we present a one-month randomized controlled trial with 18 stroke in and outpatients from two rehabilitation units: 9 performing a VR-based intervention and 9 performing conventional rehabilitation.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Randomized controlled trial,, Pharmaceutical industry, Clinical research, Simulated reality, Reality, Virtual reality


Multiplayer video games promoting exercise-based rehabilitation may facilitate motor learning, by increasing motivation through social interaction. However, a major design challenge is to enable meaningful inter-subject interaction, whilst allowing for significant skill differences between players. We present a novel motor-training paradigm that allows real-time collaboration and performance enhancement, across a wide range of inter-subject skill mismatches, including disabled vs. able-bodied partnerships.

Concepts: Skill, Learning, Collaboration, First-person shooter, Age of Mythology, Multiplayer video game


BACKGROUND: We developed an electroencephalogram-based brain computer interface system to modulate functional electrical stimulation (FES) to the affected tibialis anterior muscle in a stroke patient. The intensity of FES current increased in a stepwise manner when the event-related desynchronization (ERD) reflecting motor intent was continuously detected from the primary cortical motor area. METHODS: We tested the feasibility of the ERD-modulated FES system in comparison with FES without ERD modulation. The stroke patient who presented with severe hemiparesis attempted to perform dorsiflexion of the paralyzed ankle during which FES was applied either with or without ERD modulation. RESULTS: After 20 minutes of training, the range of movement at the ankle joint and the electromyography amplitude of the affected tibialis anterior muscle were significantly increased following the ERD-modulated FES compared with the FES alone. CONCLUSIONS: The proposed rehabilitation technique using ERD-modulated FES for stroke patients was feasible. The system holds potentials to improve the limb function and to benefit stroke patients.

Concepts: Foot, Tibialis anterior muscle, Tibialis posterior muscle, Human leg, Neuroprosthetics, Dorsiflexion


Stroke-induced impairments result from both primary and secondary causes, i.e. damage to the brain and the acquired non-use of the impaired limbs. Indeed, stroke patients often under-utilize their paretic limb despite sufficient residual motor function. We hypothesize that acquired non-use can be overcome by reinforcement-based training strategies.

Concepts: Brain, Traumatic brain injury, Visual perception, Cerebellum


The aim of this review was to identify and summarise publications, which have reported clinical applications of upper limb accelerometry for stroke within free-living environments and make recommendations for future studies. Data was searched from MEDLINE®, Scopus, IEEExplore and Compendex databases. The final search was 31st October 2013. Any study was included which reported clinical assessments in parallel with accelerometry in a free-living hospital or home setting. Study quality is reflected by participant numbers, methodological approach, technical details of the equipment used, blinding of clinical measures, whether safety and compliance data was collected. First author screened articles for inclusion and inclusion of full text articles and data extraction was confirmed by the third author. Out of 1375 initial abstracts, 8 articles were included. All participants were stroke patients. Accelerometers were worn for either 24 hours or 3 days. Data were collected as summed acceleration counts over a specified time or as the duration of active/inactive periods. Activity in both arms was reported by all studies and the ratio of impaired to unimpaired arm activity was calculated in six studies. The correlation between clinical assessments and accelerometry was tested in five studies and significant correlations were found. The efficacy of a rehabilitation intervention was assessed using accelerometry by three studies: in two studies both accelerometry and clinical test scores detected a post-treatment difference but in one study accelerometry data did not change despite clinical test scores showing motor and functional improvements. Further research is needed to understand the additional value of accelerometry as a measure of upper limb use and function in a clinical context. A simple and easily interpretable accelerometry approach is required.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Ratio, Upper limb, Accelerometer, Limb, Arm