Unsupported or "against-gravity" reaching and hand opening movements are greatly impaired in individuals with hemiparetic stroke. The reduction in reaching excursion and hand opening is thought to be primarily limited by abnormal muscle co-activation of shoulder abductors with distal limb flexors, known as flexion synergy, that results in a loss of independent joint control or joint individuation. Our laboratory employs several methods for quantifying this movement impairment, however the most documented techniques are sophisticated and laboratory-based. Here a series of robotic methods that vary in complexity from comprehensive (laboratory-based) to focused (clinically relevant) are outlined in detail in order to facilitate translation and make recommendations for utilization across the translational spectrum as part of Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation thematic series, "Technically-advanced assessments in sensory motor rehabilitation." While these methods focus on our published work utilizing the device, ACT3D, these methods can be duplicated using any mechatronic device with the appropriate characteristics. The common thread and most important aspect of the methods described is addressing the deleterious effects of abduction loading. Distal upper extremity joint performance is directly and monotonically modulated by proximal (shoulder abduction) joint demands. The employment of robotic metrics is the best tool for selectively manipulating shoulder abduction task requirements spanning the individual's full range of shoulder abduction strength. From the series of methods and the concluding recommendations, scientists and clinicians can determine the ideal robotic quantification method for the measurement of the impact of loss of independent joint control on reaching and hand function.
- Flexion synergy
- Loss of independent joint control
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Informatics