Background. Acquired brain injury (ABI) is one of the leading causes of motor deficits in children and adults and often results in motor control and balance impairments. Motor deficits include abnormal loading and unloading, increased double support time, decreased walking speed, control, and coordination. These deficits lead to diminished functional ambulation and reduced quality of life. Robotic exoskeletons (RE) for motor rehabilitation can provide the user with consistent, symmetrical, goal-directed repetition of movement, as well as balance and stability. Purpose. The goal of this preliminary prospective before and after study is to evaluate the therapeutic effect of RE training on the loading/unloading and spatial-temporal characteristics in adolescents and young adults with chronic ABI. Method. Seven participants diagnosed with ABI between the ages of 14 and 27 years participated in the study. All participants received twelve 45 minute sessions of RE gait training. The bilateral loading (linearity of loading and rate of loading), speed, step length, swing time, stance time, and total time were collected using Zeno™ walkway (ProtoKinetics, Havertown, PA, USA) before and after RE training. Results. Results from the study showed improved step length, speed, and an overall progression towards healthy bilateral loading, with linearity of loading showing a significant therapeutic effect (p<0.05). Conclusion. These preliminary results suggest that high dose, repetitive, consistent gait training using RE has the potential to induce recovery of function in adolescents and young adults diagnosed with ABI.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Biomedical Engineering