Robotic platform maximizing gravity-dependent gait interactions to train standing and walking after neurological disorders

Jean Baptiste Mignardot (G. Courtine Lab)

Gait recovery after neurological disorders requires re-mastering the interplay between body mechanics and gravitational forces. Despite the importance of gravity-dependent gait interactions for promoting this learning, this essential aspect of gait rehabilitation have received little attention. Here, we introduce a robotic interface that assists trunk movements in order to maximize gravity-dependent gait interactions during highly participative locomotion within a large and safe environment. We elaborated an algorithm that automatically configures multidirectional forces applied to the trunk based on patient-specific needs. This robotic assistance enabled walking in non-ambulatory individuals with spinal cord injury and stroke, and allowed less impaired individuals to execute skilled locomotion that they could not perform without robotic assistance. The robotic interface improved locomotor performance after a single gait training session, whereas the same amount of training restricted to vertical support on a treadmill did not ameliorate gait. These results establish a new rehabilitation framework to augment motor recovery after neurological disorders.

Abstract Authors: *J.B. MIGNARDOT1,2, C. G. LE GOFF1,2, R. VAN DEN BRAND1,2, N. FUMEAUX1, S. CARDA4,2, J. VON ZITZEWITZ1, J. BLOCH2,3, G. COURTINE1,2; 1EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland; 2Clin. Neurosciences, 3Neurosurg., Univ. Hosp. of Vaud, Lausanne, Switzerland; 4Neurorehabilitation, Univ. Hosp. of Vaud, Lausanne, Switzerland

Disclosures: J. Mignardot: None. C.G. Le Goff: None. R. van den Brand: None. N. Fumeaux: None. S. Carda: None. J. von Zitzewitz: None. J. Bloch: None. G. Courtine: None.

LINK: Session 158 – Spinal Cord Injury and Plasticity

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