Robotic devices as therapeutic and diagnostic tools for stroke recovery
Outcome Assessment (Health Care)
Prostheses and Implants
The understanding that recovery of brain function after stroke is imperfect has prompted decades of effort to engender speedier and better recovery through environmental manipulation. Clinical evidence has shown that the performance plateau exhibited by patients with chronic stroke, usually signaling an end of standard rehabilitation, might represent a period of consolidation rather than a performance optimum. These results highlight the difficulty of translating pertinent neurological data into pragmatic changes in clinical programs. This opinion piece focuses on upper limb impairment reduction after robotic training. We propose that robotic devices be considered as novel tools that might be used alone or in combination with novel pharmacology and other bioengineered devices. Additionally, robotic devices can measure motor performance objectively and will contribute to a detailed phenotype of stroke recovery.