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Robot Assisted Virtual Rehabilitation for the Hand Post Stroke (RAVR)

This study investigates the effects of intensive, high dosage task and impairment based training of the hemiparetic hand, using haptic robots integrated with complex gaming and virtual reality simulations. There is a time-limited period of post-ischemic heightened neuronal plasticity during which intensive training may optimally affect the recovery of motor skills, indicating that the timing of rehabilitation is as important as the dosing. However, recent literature indicates a controversy regarding both the value of intensive, high dosage as well as the optimal timing for therapy in the first two months after stroke. This study is designed to empirically investigate this controversy. It is evident that providing additional, intensive therapy during the acute rehabilitation stay is more complicated to implement and difficult for patients to tolerate, than initiating it in the outpatient setting, immediately after discharge. The robotic/VR system is specifically designed to deliver hand and arm training when motion and strength are limited, using adaptive algorithms to drive individual finger movement, gain adaptation and workspace modification to increase finger and arm range of motion, and haptic and visual feedback from mirrored movements to reinforce motor networks in the lesioned hemisphere.

Sponsored by: New Jersey Institute of Technology