Robot-mediated rehabilitation gives certain advantages for patients and physicians alike.
FREMONT, CA: The World Health Organization estimates that about 15 percent of the world’s population has some form of disability. Rehabilitation has a vital role in decreasing the level of disability. The application of innovative technologies in rehabilitation is a promising opportunity to attain this objective. Novel therapeutic techniques have come forth to promote upper extremity function, and one such technology is robotic rehabilitation. Rehabilitation robots can reduce the burden on therapists by substituting human intervention and offering ideal therapies that fulfill the principles of stroke rehabilitation repetition, high intensity, and task specificity. Read on to know more.
Rehabilitation robots are categorized into end-effector (EE) and exoskeleton (Exo) according to their mechanical structures. EE robots are connected to patients at one distal point, and their joints do not match with human joints. Force created at the distal interface changes the positions of other joints, making the isolated movement of a single joint difficult. Exo robots resemble human limbs as they are connected to patients at several points, and their joint axes match with human joint axes. Training of specific muscles by controlling joint movements at calculated torques is possible.
A randomized controlled trial was performed to decide the most suitable robotic device for enhancing upper extremity function by directly comparing EE and Exo robots in patients with stroke. It was found that improvements were significantly better in the EE group than in the Exo group with regard to activity and participation at the end of the intervention. The reasons for better results in the EE group includes the intervention in the EE group was more impairment-based while the intervention in the Exo group was more functional. Secondly, the EE robot trains patients in a two-dimensional horizontal plane with gravity compensation, whereas the Exo robot trains patients in a three-dimension area involving movements against gravity.
The findings suggest that the EE robot intervention is better than the Exo robot intervention with regard to activity and participation among chronic stroke patients with moderate-to-severe impairment of upper extremity function after four weeks of intervention.