A new multi-center study recently assessed and compared the effectiveness of robotic training with the ARMin, the research prototype of the commercially available ArmeoPower by Hocoma, to results shown in conventional therapy post-stroke. A news release from Hocomoa states that Verena Klamroth-Marganska, MD, Robert Riener, PhD, and other scientists of the ETH Zurich enrolled 77 chronic stroke patients with moderate-to-severe arm paresis in the trial and trained them for 8 weeks. The patients were randomly assigned to two groups in which they received either robotic or conventional therapy for at least 45 minutes, three times per week.
Following therapy, the release notes patients that were assigned to robotic therapy exhibited significantly greater improvements in motoric function. The scientists add that while most gains occurred within the first 4 weeks, patients continued to improve during the second half of therapy without a plateau at the end of training.
The results also indicate that among patients arranged by severity, the most severely affected patients seemed to benefit the most from robot-assisted therapy. The scientists maintain that the higher intensity of training with the ARMin might have been a key contributor to these differences, particularly among patients with severe impairments.
Klamroth-Marganska, lead author, emphasizes that the results also hold great promise for future research. “The fact that especially severely impaired patients show improved rehabilitation outcomes with the ARMin is something we didn’t expect and a completely new finding. Now we have to look at the full potential of robotic arm therapy with larger follow-up studies over a longer period.”
[Photo Credit: Hocoma]