Menu

Robotic Orthotics Aid Gait in Kids with Cerebral Palsy

The wearable technology, akin to motorized leg braces, help children with physical disabilities extend their knees as they walk. 

Aug 24, 2017
Aggie Mika

FUNCTIONAL & APPLIED BIOMECHANICS SECTION, REHABILITATION MEDICINE DEPARTMENT, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH CLINICAL CENTERWearable robotic “exoskeletons” improved the gait of children with cerebral palsy, scientists report in a small study published yesterday (August 23) in Science Translational Medicine.

The bespoke orthotics, custom-fitted to the children’s legs, helped extend the kids’ knees properly while they walked and corrected their crouched postures from a tendency to over-flex their knees. The devices improved knee extension in six of the seven children assessed, with effects “similar to or greater than those reported from invasive surgical interventions,” the researchers write in their report.

“It may be useful for some of those kids, but more severe kids may not benefit,” Bruce Dobkin, director of the Neurological Rehabilitation and Research Program at the University of California, Los Angeles, tells STAT. He was not involved in the work.

In the trial, seven children ages five to 19 went through four practice sessions, each a couple of hours long, over the course of two or three months. The investigators examined them for walking ability and muscle function on the third and final days of the study.

“We want to transfer the walking patterns we see with the exoskeleton to walking without the exoskeleton,” coauthor Thomas Bulea of the National Institutes of Health tells STAT. “If we can correct or treat this crouch gait at a young age, then throughout their life, we may be able to increase their mobility.” Additional studies are needed to assess whether long-term training with robotic exoskeletons will indeed improve movement and posture in the absence of the devices. 

The walking abilities of children with cerebral palsy— a movement disorder thought to be caused by early life nervous system damage—often deteriorate over time, but not because the disease progressively attacks their nerves, the authors write. Rather, their stamina and muscle strength wither away as their initial injuries prevent them from walking properly. 

September 2018

The Muscle Issue

The dynamic tissue reveals its secrets

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

Horizon Discovery introduces Myeloid DNA Reference Standard to support genetic testing of leukemia

Horizon Discovery introduces Myeloid DNA Reference Standard to support genetic testing of leukemia

Horizon Discovery Group plc, a global leader in gene editing and gene modulation technologies, today announced the launch of its Myeloid DNA Reference Standard. The first-to-market large cell-line derived myeloid cancer reference standard designed enables faster, more reliable and more cost-effective assay validation, to support the market in bringing routine testing into practice.

StemExpress LeukopakâNow Available in Frozen Format

StemExpress LeukopakâNow Available in Frozen Format

StemExpress, a Folsom, California based leading supplier of human biospecimens, announces the release of frozen Peripheral Blood Leukopaks. Leukopaks provide an enriched source of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) with low granulocyte and red blood cells that can be used in a variety of downstream cell-based applications.

New Antifade Mounting Media from Vector Laboratories Enhances Immunofluorescence Applications

New Antifade Mounting Media from Vector Laboratories Enhances Immunofluorescence Applications

Vector Laboratories, a leader in the development and manufacture of labeling and detection reagents for biomedical research, introduces VECTASHIELD® Vibrance™ – antifade mounting media that delivers significant improvements to the immunofluorescence workflow.

Best Practices for Sample Preparation and Lipid Extraction from Various Samples

Best Practices for Sample Preparation and Lipid Extraction from Various Samples

Download this white paper from Bertin Technologies to learn how to extract and analyze lipid samples from various models!