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Volume 45 Number 2, 2008
Pages 337 — 344

Abstract - Automating activity-based interventions: The role of robotics

Joseph Hidler, PhD;1-2* Larry F. Hamm, PhD, FAACVPR, FACSM;3 Alison Lichy, MSPT;3 Suzanne L. Groah, MD, MSPH3

1Department of Biomedical Engineering, The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC; 2Center for Applied Biomechanics and Rehabilitation Research and 3Neuroscience Research Center, National Rehabilitation Hospital, Washington, DC

Abstract — We have seen a continued growth of robotic devices being tested in neurorehabilitation settings over the last decade, with the primary goal to improve upper- and lower-motor function in individuals following stroke, spinal cord injury, and other neurological conditions. Interestingly, few studies have investigated the use of these devices in improving the overall health and well-being of these individuals despite the capability of robotic devices to deliver intensive time-unlimited therapy. In this article, we discuss the use of robotic devices in delivering intense, activity-based therapies that may have significant exercise benefits. We also present preliminary data from studies that investigated the metabolic and cardiac responses during and after 6 months of lower-limb robotic training. Finally, we speculate on the future of robotics and how these devices will affect rehabilitation interventions.

Key words: activity-based rehabilitation, cardiovascular, gait, Lokomat, metabolic response, rehabilitation, robotics, spinal cord injury, treadmill training, walking therapy.

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