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Med Biol Eng Comput. 2011 Oct;49(10):1103-18. doi: 10.1007/s11517-011-0797-0. Epub 2011 Jul 20.

Advances in upper limb stroke rehabilitation: a technology push.

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School of Engineering and Information Sciences, Middlesex University, The Burroughs, Hendon, London, NW4 4BT, UK.


Strokes affect thousands of people worldwide leaving sufferers with severe disabilities affecting their daily activities. In recent years, new rehabilitation techniques have emerged such as constraint-induced therapy, biofeedback therapy and robot-aided therapy. In particular, robotic techniques allow precise recording of movements and application of forces to the affected limb, making it a valuable tool for motor rehabilitation. In addition, robot-aided therapy can utilise visual cues conveyed on a computer screen to convert repetitive movement practice into an engaging task such as a game. Visual cues can also be used to control the information sent to the patient about exercise performance and to potentially address psychosomatic variables influencing therapy. This paper overviews the current state-of-the-art on upper limb robot-mediated therapy with a focal point on the technical requirements of robotic therapy devices leading to the development of upper limb rehabilitation techniques that facilitate reach-to-touch, fine motor control, whole-arm movements and promote rehabilitation beyond hospital stay. The reviewed literature suggest that while there is evidence supporting the use of this technology to reduce functional impairment, besides the technological push, the challenge ahead lies on provision of effective assessment of outcome and modalities that have a stronger impact transferring functional gains into functional independence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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