Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

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


Since the early 2000s, researchers have been trying to develop lower-limb exoskeletons that augment human mobility by reducing the metabolic cost of walking and running versus without a device. In 2013, researchers finally broke this ‘metabolic cost barrier’. We analyzed the literature through December 2019, and identified 23 studies that demonstrate exoskeleton designs that improved human walking and running economy beyond capable without a device. Here, we reviewed these studies and highlighted key innovations and techniques that enabled these devices to surpass the metabolic cost barrier and steadily improve user walking and running economy from 2013 to nearly 2020. These studies include, physiologically-informed targeting of lower-limb joints; use of off-board actuators to rapidly prototype exoskeleton controllers; mechatronic designs of both active and passive systems; and a renewed focus on human-exoskeleton interface design. Lastly, we highlight emerging trends that we anticipate will further augment wearable-device performance and pose the next grand challenges facing exoskeleton technology for augmenting human mobility.


Background and purpose: Stroke rehabilitation does not often integrate both sensory and motor recovery. While subthreshold noise was shown to enhance sensory signal detection at the site of noise application, having a noise-generating device at the fingertip to enhance fingertip sensation and potentially enhance dexterity for stroke survivors is impractical, since the device would interfere with object manipulation. This study determined if remote application of subthreshold vibrotactile noise (away from the fingertips) improves fingertip tactile sensation with potential to enhance dexterity for stroke survivors.

Concepts: Motor control, Sensory system, Sense, Somatosensory system, Potential, Proprioception


Physical interactions between two people are ubiquitous in our daily lives, and an integral part of many forms of rehabilitation. However, few studies have investigated forces arising from physical interactions between humans during a cooperative motor task, particularly during overground movements. As such, the direction and magnitude of interaction forces between two human partners, how those forces are used to communicate movement goals, and whether they change with motor experience remains unknown. A better understanding of how cooperative physical interactions are achieved in healthy individuals of different skill levels is a first step toward understanding principles of physical interactions that could be applied to robotic devices for motor assistance and rehabilitation.

Concepts: Interaction, Communication


This paper reviews the literature relating to the biofeedback used in physical rehabilitation. The biofeedback methods used in rehabilitation are based on biomechanical measurements and measurements of the physiological systems of the body. The physiological systems of the body which can be measured to provide biofeedback are the neuromuscular system, the respiratory system and the cardiovascular system. Neuromuscular biofeedback methods include electromyography (EMG) biofeedback and real-time ultrasound imaging (RTUS) biofeedback. EMG biofeedback is the most widely investigated method of biofeedback and appears to be an effective in the treatment of many musculoskeletal conditions and in post cardiovascular accident (CVA) rehabilitation. RTUS biofeedback has been demonstrated effective in the treatment of low back pain (LBP) and pelvic floor muscle dysfunction. Cardiovascular biofeedback methods have been shown to be effective in the treatment of a number of health conditions such as hypertension, heart failure, asthma, fibromyalgia and even psychological disorders however a systematic review in this field has yet to be conducted. Similarly, the number of large scale studies examining the use of respiratory biofeedback in rehabilitation is limited. Measurements of movement, postural control and force output can be made using a number of different devices and used to deliver biomechanical biofeedback. Inertial based sensing biofeedback is the most widely researched biomechanical biofeedback method, with a number of studies showing it to be effective in improving measures of balance in a number of populations. Other types of biomechanical biofeedback include force plate systems, electrogoniometry, pressure biofeedback and camera based systems however the evidence for these is limited. Biofeedback is generally delivered using visual displays, acoustic or haptic signals, however more recently virtual reality (VR) or exergaming technology have been used as biofeedback signals. VR and exergaming technology have been primarily investigated in post-CVA rehabilitation, however, more recent work has shown this type of biofeedback to be effective in improving exercise technique in musculoskeletal populations. While a number of studies in this area have been conducted, further large scale studies and reviews investigating different biofeedback applications in different clinical populations are required.

Concepts: Blood, Hypertension, Heart, Respiratory system, Thoracic diaphragm, Mucus, Respiration, Ibn al-Nafis


Soft exosuits are a recent approach for assisting human locomotion, which apply assistive torques to the wearer through functional apparel. Over the past few years, there has been growing recognition of the importance of control individualization for such gait assistive devices to maximize benefit to the wearer. In this paper, we present an updated version of autonomous multi-joint soft exosuit, including an online parameter tuning method that customizes control parameters for each individual based on positive ankle augmentation power.