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Versatile robotic interface to evaluate, enable and train locomotion and balance after neuromotor disorders


Dominici, Nadia; Keller, Urs; Vallery, Heike; Friedli, Lucia; van den Brand, Rubia; Starkey, Michelle L; Musienko, Pavel; Riener, Robert; Courtine, Grégoire (2012). Versatile robotic interface to evaluate, enable and train locomotion and balance after neuromotor disorders. Nature Medicine, 18(7):1142-1147.

Abstract

Central nervous system (CNS) disorders distinctly impair locomotor pattern generation and balance, but technical limitations prevent independent assessment and rehabilitation of these subfunctions. Here we introduce a versatile robotic interface to evaluate, enable and train pattern generation and balance independently during natural walking behaviors in rats. In evaluation mode, the robotic interface affords detailed assessments of pattern generation and dynamic equilibrium after spinal cord injury (SCI) and stroke. In enabling mode,the robot acts as a propulsive or postural neuroprosthesis that instantly promotes unexpected locomotor capacities including overground walking after complete SCI, stair climbing following partial SCI and precise paw placement shortly after stroke. In training mode, robot-enabled rehabilitation, epidural electrical stimulation and monoamine agonists reestablish weight-supported locomotion, coordinated steering and balance in rats with a paralyzing SCI. This new robotic technology and associated concepts have broad implications for both assessing and restoring motor functions after CNS disorders, both in animals and in humans.

Abstract

Central nervous system (CNS) disorders distinctly impair locomotor pattern generation and balance, but technical limitations prevent independent assessment and rehabilitation of these subfunctions. Here we introduce a versatile robotic interface to evaluate, enable and train pattern generation and balance independently during natural walking behaviors in rats. In evaluation mode, the robotic interface affords detailed assessments of pattern generation and dynamic equilibrium after spinal cord injury (SCI) and stroke. In enabling mode,the robot acts as a propulsive or postural neuroprosthesis that instantly promotes unexpected locomotor capacities including overground walking after complete SCI, stair climbing following partial SCI and precise paw placement shortly after stroke. In training mode, robot-enabled rehabilitation, epidural electrical stimulation and monoamine agonists reestablish weight-supported locomotion, coordinated steering and balance in rats with a paralyzing SCI. This new robotic technology and associated concepts have broad implications for both assessing and restoring motor functions after CNS disorders, both in animals and in humans.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Balgrist University Hospital, Swiss Spinal Cord Injury Center
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:31 Jan 2013 13:32
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 16:13
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:1078-8956
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/nm.2845
PubMed ID:22653117

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