Proprioception plays a fundamental role in maintaining posture and executing movement, and the quantitative evaluation of proprioceptive deficits in poststroke patients is important. But currently it is not widely performed due to the complexity of the evaluation tools required for a reliable assessment. The aims of this pilot study were to (a) develop a system architecture for upper limb evaluation and training of proximal and distal sense of position in the horizontal plane and (b) test the system in healthy and pathological subjects. Two robotic devices for evaluation and training of, respectively, wrist flexion/extension and shoulder-elbow manipulation were employed. The system we developed was applied in a group of 12 healthy subjects and 10 patients after stroke. It was able to quantitatively evaluate upper limb sense of position in the horizontal plane thanks to a set of quantitative parameters assessing position estimation errors, variability, and gain. In addition, it was able to distinguish healthy from pathological conditions. The system could thus be a reliable method to detect changes in the sense of position of patients with sensory deficits after stroke and could enable the implementation of novel training approaches for the recovery of normal proprioception.
- Middle Aged
- Pilot Projects
- Stroke Rehabilitation/methods
- Upper Extremity