East Hanover, NJ - March 20, 2018 - Karen Nolan, PhD, senior research scientist in Human Performance and Engineering Research at Kessler Foundation, will collaborate with Stevens Institute of Technology on a grant from New Jersey Health Foundation. With this $35,000 grant, investigators will develop and test the SAFE (Stevens Ankle-Foot Electromechanical) Orthosis, an adaptive oscillator-based assistive device with sensory stimulation to facilitate recovery of gait symmetry in stroke survivors.
Sensory impairment is common after stroke, occurring in about 60% of individuals. Lower limb sensory dysfunction after stroke has been linked to deficiencies in standing balance, balance during ambulation, and gait speed and symmetry. This study will assess the immediate effects of locomotor training with the SAFE Orthosis in three ambulatory stroke participants and three age-matched healthy controls.
"SAFE Orthosis senses an individual's intentions and desired movements, using electromyogram signals collected by surface electrodes," explained Dr. Nolan. "If proven effective, this intervention may provide a universal standard for improving gait symmetry in stroke survivors. This type of individualized care is key to successful rehabilitation, including fully integrating into work, school, and the community."
Kessler Foundation will conduct single-session tests on each participant as they walk using the new powered orthosis, which is currently being developed at Stevens' Wearable Robotic Systems Laboratory under the leadership of Dr. Damiano Zanotto, an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Kessler Foundation research staff will handle recruitment and assist with the collection, analysis, and interpretation of study data, as well as with dissemination and publication of findings.