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Journal Article


Kumar D, Sinha N, Dutta A, Lahiri U. Biomed. Eng. Online 2019; 18(1): e90.


Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar, Gandhinagar, India.


(Copyright © 2019, Holtzbrinck Springer Nature Publishing Group - BMC)






BACKGROUND: Stroke-related sensory and motor deficits often steal away the independent mobility and balance from stroke survivors. Often, this compels the stroke survivors to rely heavily on their non-paretic leg during weight shifting to execute activities of daily living (ADL), with reduced usage of the paretic leg. Increased reliance on non-paretic leg often leads to learned nonuse of the paretic leg. Therefore, it is necessary to measure the contribution of individual legs toward one's overall balance. In turn, techniques can be developed to condition the usage of both the legs during one's balance training, thereby encouraging the hemiplegic patients for increased use of their paretic leg. The aim of this study is to (1) develop a virtual reality (VR)-based balance training platform that can estimate the contribution of each leg during VR-based weight-shifting tasks in an individualized manner and (2) understand the implication of operant conditioning paradigm during balance training on the overall balance of hemiplegic stroke patients.

RESULT: Twenty-nine hemiplegic patients participated in a single session of VR-based balance training. The participants maneuvered virtual objects in the virtual environment using two Wii Balance Boards that measured displacement in the center of pressure (CoP) due to each leg when one performed weight-shifting tasks. For operant conditioning, the weight distribution across both the legs was conditioned (during normal trial) to reward participants for increased usage of the paretic leg during the weight-shifting task. The participants were offered multiple levels of normal trials with intermediate catch trial (with equal weight distribution between both legs) in an individualized manner. The effect of operant conditioning during the normal trials was measured in the following catch trials. The participants showed significantly improved performance in the final catch trial compared to their initial catch trial task. Also, the enhancement in CoP displacement of the paretic leg was significant in the final catch trial compared to the initial catch trial.

CONCLUSION: The developed system was able to encourage participants for improved usage of their paretic leg during weight-shifting tasks. Such an approach has the potential to address the issue of learned nonuse of the paretic leg in stroke patients.

Language: en


Balance rehabilitation; Center of pressure; Operant conditioning; Stroke; Virtual reality; Wii Balance Board


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