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  • Publication
    Can kinematic parameters of 3D reach-to-target movements be used as a proxy for clinical outcome measures in chronic stroke rehabilitation? An exploratory study
    Background: Despite numerous trials investigating robot-assisted therapy (RT) effects on upper-extremity (UE) function after stroke, few have explored the relationship between three-dimensional (3D) reach-to-target kinematics and clinical outcomes. The objectives of this study were to 1) investigate the correlation between kinematic parameters of 3D reach-to-target movements and UE clinical outcome measures, and 2) examine the degree to which differences in kinematic parameters across individuals can account for differences in clinical outcomes in response to RT. Methods: Ten chronic stroke survivors participated in a pilot RT intervention (eighteen 1-h sessions) integrating cognitive skills training and a home-action program. Clinical outcome measures and kinematic parameters of 3D reach-to-target movements were collected pre- and post-intervention. The correlation between clinical outcomes and kinematic parameters was investigated both cross-sectionally and longitudinally (i.e., changes in response to the intervention). Changes in clinical outcomes and kinematic parameters were tested for significance in both group and subject-by-subject analyses. Potential associations between individual differences in kinematic parameters and differences in clinical outcomes were examined. Results: Moderate-to-strong correlation was found between clinical measures and specific kinematic parameters when examined cross-sectionally. Weaker correlation coefficients were found longitudinally. Group analyses revealed significant changes in clinical outcome measures in response to the intervention; no significant group changes were observed in kinematic parameters. Subject-by-subject analyses revealed changes with moderate-to-large effect size in the kinematics of 3D reach-to-target movements pre- vs. post-intervention. Changes in clinical outcomes and kinematic parameters varied widely across participants. Conclusions: Large variability was observed across subjects in response to the intervention. The correlation between changes in kinematic parameters and clinical outcomes in response to the intervention was variable and not strong across parameters, suggesting no consistent change in UE motor strategies across participants. These results highlight the need to investigate the response to interventions at the individual level. This would enable the identification of clusters of individuals with common patterns of change in response to an intervention, providing an opportunity to use cluster-specific kinematic parameters as a proxy of clinical outcomes.
      13Scopus© Citations 6
  • Publication
    Robot-Driven Locomotor Perturbations Reveal Synergy- Mediated, Context-Dependent Feedforward and Feedback Mechanisms of Adaptation
    Humans respond to mechanical perturbations that affect their gait by changing their motor control strategy. Previous work indicates that adaptation during gait is context dependent, and perturbations altering long-term stability are compensated for even at the cost of higher energy expenditure. However, it is unclear if gait adaptation is driven by unilateral or bilateral mechanisms, and what the roles of feedback and feedforward control are in the generation of compensatory responses. Here, we used a robot-based adaptation paradigm to investigate if feedback/feedforward and unilateral/bilateral contributions to locomotor adaptation are also context dependent in healthy adults. A robot was used to induce two opposite unilateral mechanical perturbations affecting the step length over multiple gait cycles. Electromyographic signals were collected and analyzed to determine how muscle synergies change in response to perturbations. The results unraveled different unilateral modulation dynamics of the muscle-synergy activations during adaptation, characterized by the combination of a slow-progressive feedforward process and a fast-reactive feedback-driven process. The relative unilateral contributions of the two processes to motor-output adjustments, however, depended on which perturbation was delivered. Overall, these observations provide evidence that, in humans, both descending and afferent drives project onto the same spinal interneuronal networks that encode locomotor muscle synergies.
      207Scopus© Citations 18