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      Exoskeletal cyborg-type robot

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      Science Robotics

      American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

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          Abstract

          The scope of research on exoskeletal cyborg-type robots has progressed far beyond mechanisms for maneuvering piloted mecha as imagined by science fiction, and cybernics—the fusion of humans, robots, and information systems—is shaping the way toward novel methods of medical care.

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          Most cited references 4

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          The Effectiveness and Safety of Exoskeletons as Assistive and Rehabilitation Devices in the Treatment of Neurologic Gait Disorders in Patients with Spinal Cord Injury: A Systematic Review

          Study Design Systematic review. Clinical Questions (1) When used as an assistive device, do wearable exoskeletons improve lower extremity function or gait compared with knee-ankle-foot orthoses (KAFOs) in patients with complete or incomplete spinal cord injury? (2) When used as a rehabilitation device, do wearable exoskeletons improve lower extremity function or gait compared with other rehabilitation strategies in patients with complete or incomplete spinal cord injury? (3) When used as an assistive or rehabilitation device, are wearable exoskeletons safe compared with KAFO for assistance or other rehabilitation strategies for rehabilitation in patients with complete or incomplete spinal cord injury? Methods PubMed, Cochrane, and Embase databases and reference lists of key articles were searched from database inception to May 2, 2016, to identify studies evaluating the effectiveness of wearable exoskeletons used as assistive or rehabilitative devices in patients with incomplete or complete spinal cord injury. Results No comparison studies were found evaluating exoskeletons as an assistive device. Nine comparison studies (11 publications) evaluated the use of exoskeletons as a rehabilitative device. The 10-meter walk test velocity and Spinal Cord Independence Measure scores showed no difference in change from baseline among patients undergoing exoskeleton training compared with various comparator therapies. The remaining primary outcome measures of 6-minute walk test distance and Walking Index for Spinal Cord Injury I and II and Functional Independence Measure–Locomotor scores showed mixed results, with some studies indicating no difference in change from baseline between exoskeleton training and comparator therapies, some indicating benefit of exoskeleton over comparator therapies, and some indicating benefit of comparator therapies over exoskeleton. Conclusion There is no data to compare locomotion assistance with exoskeleton versus conventional KAFOs. There is no consistent benefit from rehabilitation using an exoskeleton versus a variety of conventional methods in patients with chronic spinal cord injury. Trials comparing later-generation exoskeletons are needed.
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            Against the odds: what to expect in rehabilitation of chronic spinal cord injury with a neurologically controlled Hybrid Assistive Limb exoskeleton. A subgroup analysis of 55 patients according to age and lesion level.

            Objective Age and lesion level are believed to represent outcome predictors in rehabilitation of patients with chronic spinal cord injury (SCI). The Hybrid Assistive Limb (HAL) exoskeleton enables patients to perform a voluntary controlled gait pattern via an electromyography-triggered neuromuscular feedback system, and has been introduced as a temporary gait training tool in patients with SCI. The aim of this prospective pre- and postintervention study was to examine functional outcomes as a function of age and lesion level in patients with chronic incomplete SCI (iSCI) or chronic complete SCI (cSCI) with zones of partial preservation (ZPP) by using the HAL as a temporary training tool. Methods Fifty-five participants with chronic iSCI or cSCI (mean time since injury 6.85 ± 5.12 years) were classified according to the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) Impairment Scale (AIS) and divided by age (< 50 or ≥ 50 years), independent of lesion level, and also into 4 homogeneous groups according to lesion level. The subgroups were as follows: Subgroup 1, tetraplegic iSCI (n = 13) (C2-8, AIS C [n = 8] and AIS D [n = 5]); Subgroup 2, paraplegic iSCI with spastic motor behavior (n = 15) (T2-12, AIS C [n = 8] and AIS D [n = 7]); Subgroup 3, paraplegic cSCI with complete motor paraplegia and absence of spastic motor behavior (n = 18) (T11-L4 [AIS A], and ZPP from L-3 to S-1); and Subgroup 4, paraplegic iSCI with absence of spastic motor behavior (n = 9) (T12-L3, AIS C [n = 8] and AIS D [n = 1]). The training paradigm consisted of 12 weeks of HAL-assisted treadmill training (5 times/week). Baseline status was documented prior to intervention by using the AIS grade, Walking Index for SCI II (WISCI II) score, the 10-meter walk test (10MWT), and the 6-minute walk test (6MinWT). Training effects were assessed after 6 and 12 weeks of therapy, without HAL assistance. Results Overall, a time reduction of 47% in the 10MWT, self-selected speed (10MWTsss) (< 50 years = 56% vs ≥ 50 years = 37%) and an increase of 50% in the 6MinWT were documented. The WISCI II scores showed a mean gain of 1.69 levels. At the end of the study, 24 of 55 patients (43.6%) were less dependent on walking aids. Age had a nonsignificant negative influence on the 10MWTsss. Despite a few nonsignificant subgroup differences, participants improved across all tests. Namely, patients with iSCI who had spastic motor behavior improved to a nonsignificant, lesser extent in the 6MinWT. Conclusions The HAL-assisted treadmill training leads to functional improvements in chronic iSCI or cSCI, both in and out of the exoskeleton. An improvement of approximately 50% in the 10MWTsss and in gait endurance (6MinWT) can be expected from such training. The influences of SCI lesion level and age on functional outcome were nonsignificant in the present study. Older age (≥ 50 years) may be associated with smaller improvements in the 10MWTsss. An iSCI in paraplegic patients with spastic motor behavior may be a nonsignificant negative predictor in gait endurance improvements. Clinical trial registration no.: DRKS00010250 ( https://drks-neu.uniklinik-freiburg.de/drks_web/setLocale_DE.do ).
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              Locomotion training using voluntary driven exoskeleton (HAL) in acute incomplete SCI.

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Science Robotics
                Sci. Robot.
                American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
                2470-9476
                April 25 2018
                April 25 2018
                April 25 2018
                : 3
                : 17
                : eaat3912
                Article
                10.1126/scirobotics.aat3912
                © 2018

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