Robotic Training for Stroke Neurorehabilitation

Not yet recruiting

Phase 2 Results N/A

Trial Description

The overall goal is to further develop a robotic exoskeleton for neurorehabilitation of arm function after stroke. The investigators previously developed a novel training protocol that combined the ARMin and HandSOME exoskeletons. This is one of only a few arm exoskeletons that allow coordinated whole limb training in reach and grasp tasks with both virtual and real objects. However, the robot has a very large inertia and friction, and only gross grasp patterns are available. In development work, the investigators will significantly modify the AMRin and HandSOME to deliver a state-of-the-art lightweight robotic exoskeleton capable of retraining a wide range of functional activities. In the subsequent testing phase, a clinical trial will examine the effects of robotic training in chronic stroke subjects.

Detailed Description

In a pilot clinical trial, the investigators found that the current robotic exoskeleton elicited improvements in arm function that can potentially supplement conventional methods to improve outcomes. However, the robot has a very large inertia and friction, and only gross grasp patterns are available. Therefore, improvements in movement speed and fine grasp were limited after robotic training. In development work, the investigators will significantly modify the ARMin and HandSOME to deliver a state-of-the-art lightweight robotic exoskeleton capable of retraining a wide range of functional activities. The investigators will reduce the inertia and friction of the robot to 1/4 of current values, incorporate an adaptive algorithm to automatically adjust assistance levels and extend the range of grasp patterns to include power grasp, thumb-index finger pinch and key pinch. Using the improved device from the development activities, the investigators will perform a clinical trial to compare the effectiveness of robotic training to conventional therapy from an occupational therapist. To take advantage of the facilitatory effect of robot therapy on subsequent conventional therapy, the experimental treatment will be 12 hours of robot therapy followed by 12 hours of conventional therapy. Chronic stroke subjects (N=38) will be randomly assigned to receive this experimental treatment or 24 hours of conventional therapy from an occupational therapist.

Conditions

Interventions

  • Conventional therapy Other
    Intervention Desc: An occupational therapist will provide one-on-one individualized programs focused on arm function. Treatment will focus on practice of specific tasks, such as reach, grasp, transport and release of various objects between different targets. Progression is done by varying the shape, size and weight of objects, altering the end range of the target or increasing the speed of movement.
    ARM 1: Kind: Experimental
    Label: Robotic
    Description: The experimental group will receive 1-hour robotic training sessions, 3 times per week for a total of 12 sessions supervised by a research assistant. Immediately following this robot training, these subjects will receive the same dosage and schedule (1-hour sessions, 3 times/week, 12 total sessions) of conventional one-on-one therapy from an occupational therapist.
    ARM 2: Kind: Experimental
    Label: Conventional
    Description: Subjects will receive 24 hours of one-on-one treatment from an occupational therapist. The treatment schedule will parallel that given to the experimental group (1-hour sessions, 3 times/week).
  • Robotic therapy Device
    Intervention Desc: Subjects will be placed in the robot and practice common upper extremity tasks involving grasping, manipulating and moving objects.
    ARM 1: Kind: Experimental
    Label: Robotic
    Description: The experimental group will receive 1-hour robotic training sessions, 3 times per week for a total of 12 sessions supervised by a research assistant. Immediately following this robot training, these subjects will receive the same dosage and schedule (1-hour sessions, 3 times/week, 12 total sessions) of conventional one-on-one therapy from an occupational therapist.

Trial Design

  • Allocation: Randomized
  • Masking: Single Blind (Outcomes Assessor)
  • Purpose: Treatment
  • Endpoint: Efficacy Study
  • Intervention: Parallel Assignment

Outcomes

Type Measure Time Frame Safety Issue
Primary Change in Fugl-Meyer score Change from baseline to 8 weeks No
Primary Change in Action Research Arm Test Change from baseline to 8 weeks No
Primary Change in Motor Activity Log Change from baseline to 8 weeks No
Primary Change in Fugl-Meyer score at follow-up Change from baseline to 8 months No
Primary Change in Action Research Arm Test at follow-up Change from baseline to 8 months No
Primary Change in Motor Activity Log at follow-up Change from baseline to 8 months No

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