Error Based Learning for Restoring Gait Symmetry Post-Stroke

Completed

Phase 1 Results N/A

Update History

20 Apr '16
The description was updated.
New
Walking after stroke is characterized by reduced gait speed and the presence of interlimb spatiotemporal asymmetry. These step length and stance time asymmetries can be energy inefficient, challenge balance control, increase the risk of falls and injury, and limit functional mobility. Current rehabilitation to improve gait is based on one of two competing motor learning strategies: minimizing or augmenting symmetry errors during training. Conventional rehabilitation often involves walking on a treadmill while therapists attempt to minimize symmetry errors during training. Although this approach can successfully improve gait speed, it does not produce long-term changes in symmetry. Conversely, augmenting or amplifying symmetry errors has been produced by walking on a split belt treadmill with the belts set at different fixed speeds. While this approach produced an 'after-effect' resulting in step length symmetry for short periods of time, with some evidence of long term learning in people with stroke, it had no influence on stance time asymmetry. The investigators propose that patients need real-time proprioceptive feedback of symmetry errors so that they are actively engaged in the learning process. For this project, the investigators developed and validated a novel, responsive, 'closed loop' control system, using a split-belt instrumented treadmill that continuously adjusts the difference in belt speeds to be proportional to the patient's current asymmetry. Using this system, the investigators can either augment or minimize asymmetry on a step-by-step basis to determine which motor learning strategy produces the largest improvement in overground spatiotemporal symmetry.
Old
Walking after stroke is characterized by reduced gait speed and the presence of interlimb spatiotemporal asymmetry. These step length and stance time asymmetries can be energy inefficient, challenge balance control, increase the risk of falls and injury, and limit functional mobility. Current rehabilitation to improve gait is based on one of two competing motor learning strategies: minimizing or augmenting symmetry errors during training. Conventional rehabilitation often involves walking on a treadmill while therapists attempt to minimize symmetry errors during training. Although this approach can successfully improve gait speed, it does not produce long-term changes in symmetry. Conversely, augmenting or amplifying symmetry errors has been produced by walking on a split belt treadmill with the belts set at different fixed speeds. While this approach produced an 'after-effect' resulting in step length symmetry for short periods of time, with some evidence of long term learning in people with stroke, it had no influence on stance time asymmetry. The investigators propose that patients need real-time proprioceptive feedback of symmetry errors so that they are actively engaged in the learning process. For this project, the investigators developed and validated a novel, responsive, 'closed loop' control system, using a split-belt instrumented treadmill that continuously adjusts the difference in belt speeds to be proportional to the patient's current asymmetry. Using this system, the investigators can either augment or minimize asymmetry on a step-by-step basis to determine which motor learning strategy produces the largest improvement in overground spatiotemporal symmetry.
15 Sep '15
A location was updated in Chapel Hill.
New
The overall status was removed for University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.