This work highlights the potential of wearable technologoies to monitor muscle activity changes during stroke recovery in acute clinical settings and their importance for motivation and understanding of progression from the survivor’s point of view: ‘I was hopeful that it would show signs of things that are occurring when I couldn’t physically feel it…if you had other scientific evidence that things were happening, even beyond their notion that it would, it gives you a lot of hope. You just have to be patient, and it’s harder to take when someone tells you, but easier to understand if someone actually shows you’.
Aim: Describe the use of wireless sEMG sensors to examine changes in muscle activity during acute and subacute phases of stroke recovery, and understand the participant’s perceptions of sEMG monitoring.
Method: Muscle activity was tracked by five wireless sEMG sensors beginning three days post-stroke and continued through discharge from inpatient rehabilitation. Activity logs were completed each session, and a semi-structured interview occurred at the final session with three- and eight-month follow-up sessions.
Results: The longitudinal monitoring of muscle and movement recovery in the clinic and community was feasible using sEMG sensors. The participant and medical team felt monitoring was unobtrusive, interesting, and motivating for recovery, but desired greater in-session feedback to inform rehabilitation.
Interpretation: This work highlights that barriers in equipment and signal quality still exist, but capitalizing on wearable sensing technology in the clinic holds promise for enabling personalized stroke recovery.
Journal Article in Prosthetics & Orthotics International
Assessments of human movement are clinically important. However, accurate measurements are often unavailable due to the need for expensive equipment or intensive processing. For orthotists and therapists, shank-to-vertical angle (SVA) is one critical measure used to assess gait and guide prescriptions. Smartphone-based sensors may provide a widely-available platform to expand access to quantitative assessments.
Assess accuracy and repeatability of smartphone-based measurement of SVA compared to marker-based 3D motion analysis.
Four licensed clinicians (two physical therapists and two orthotists) measured SVA during gait with a smartphone attached to the anterior or lateral shank surface of unimpaired adults. We compared SVA calculated from the smartphone’s inertial measurement unit to marker-based measurements. Each clinician completed three sessions/day on two days with each participant to assess repeatability.
Average absolute differences in SVA measured with a smartphone versus marker-based 3D motion analysis during gait were 0.67 ± 0.25° and 4.89 ± 0.72°, with anterior or lateral smartphone positions, respectively. The inter- and intra-day repeatability of SVA were within 2° for both smartphone positions.
Smartphone sensors can be used to measure SVA with high accuracy and repeatability during unimpaired gait, providing a widely-available tool for quantitative gait assessments.
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The app for monitoring shank-to-vertical angle is available for you to download and use on either Android or iOS smartphone. Please complete THIS SURVEY which will then send you an e-mail with instructions for installation and use. This app is not an FDA approved medical device and should be used appropriately.
Journal Article in Journal of NeuroEngineering & Rehabilitation
Accelerometers have become common for evaluating the efficacy of rehabilitation for patients with neurologic disorders. For example, metrics like use ratio (UR) and magnitude ratio (MR) have been shown to differentiate movement patterns of children with cerebral palsy (CP) compared to typically-developing (TD) peers. However, these metrics are calculated from “activity counts” – a measure based on proprietary algorithms that approximate movement duration and intensity from raw accelerometer data. Algorithms used to calculate activity counts vary between devices, limiting comparisons of clinical and research results. The goal of this research was to develop complementary metrics based on raw accelerometer data to analyze arm movement after neurologic injury.
We calculated jerk, the derivative of acceleration, to evaluate arm movement from accelerometer data. To complement current measures, we calculated jerk ratio (JR) as the relative jerk magnitude of the dominant (non-paretic) and non-dominant (paretic) arms. We evaluated the JR distribution between arms and calculated the 50th percentile of the JR distribution (JR50). To evaluate these metrics, we analyzed bimanual accelerometry data for five children with hemiplegic CP who underwent Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT) and five typically developing (TD) children. We compared JR between the CP and TD cohorts, and to activity count metrics.
The JR50 differentiated between the CP and TD cohorts (CP = 0.578±0.041 before CIMT, TD = 0.506±0.026), demonstrating increased reliance on the non-dominant arm for the CP cohort. Jerk metrics also quantified changes in arm use during and after therapy (e.g., JR50 = 0.378±0.125 during CIMT, 0.591 ± 0.057 after CIMT). The JR was strongly correlated with UR and MR (r = -0.92, 0.89) for the CP cohort. For the TD cohort, JR50 was repeatable across three data collection periods with an average similarity of 0.945±0.015.
Acceleration-derived jerk captured differences in motion between TD and CP cohorts and correlated with activity count metrics. The code for calculating and plotting JR is open-source and available for others to use and build upon. By identifying device-independent metrics that can quantify arm movement in daily life, we hope to facilitate collaboration for rehabilitation research using wearable technologies.
The algorithm for calculating jerk ratio, as well as user-friendly code to produce plots similar to the figure above are provided open-source as Python 3.6 code as a Python Jupyter Notebook within Google Colab. With this resource, research groups can use existing or newly created data from accelerometers to analyze jerk ratio as a complementary metric to existing measures, enabling comparison between research studies or centers that may rely on different sensors and activity count algorithms.