Identification of robotics metrics for predicting outcome in stroke patients

Stroke is one of the leading causes of permanent disability in Canada, where nearly 80% of stroke survivors suffered from some form of disability. Around 50,000 individuals suffer from stroke every year, and there are an estimated of 300,000 individuals living with stroke side effects in Canada.

Classic clinical scores for stroke assessment tend to rely on observer-based ordinal scales, many of which have limited resolution and reliability. Recently, more advanced robotic technologies are capable of recording objective and highly reliable data for assessment of brain impairments that have been developed. KINARM (Kinesiological Instrument for Normal and Altered Reaching Movement) is a robotic device that quantifies many areas of brain dysfunction for stroke survivors.

Several tasks are presently performed on the KINARM robot for quantification of sensorimotor, proprioceptive and cognitive brain function. These include, but are not limited to, a visually guided reaching task, limb proprioceptive tasks, and a rapid target interception task (Figure 1).

The two main concepts of this project are:

1) The use of robotic technologies for prediction of stroke prognosis. The main concern regarding this concept is to determine whether the data collected using the KINARM robot can be used to predict the process of stroke subjects after rehabilitation program with the help of computational and mathematical techniques.

2) Time reductions on the current KINARM assessment protocol. As more tasks are incorporated on the KINARM protocol, the length of time to assess each subject continues to grow. This leads to the question of whether the length of overall assessment time can be reduced while retaining the maximal amount of information to quantify subject performance across broad range of neurological functions. For this purpose, the application of computational techniques will be considered to determine various methods by which the overall assessment time on the KINARM can be reduced.