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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 153872, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/153872
Review Article

Robotic Technologies and Rehabilitation: New Tools for Stroke Patients’ Therapy

1Rehabilitation Unit, Department of Neurosciences, University of Padua, Via Giustiniani 3, 35128 Padova, Italy
2Clinical Laboratory of Experimental Neurorehabilitation, IRCCS Santa Lucia foundation, Via Ardeatina 306, 00179 Roma, Italy
3Doctoral School, Medical Clinical and Experimental Sciences, Neurosciences, University of Padua, Italy
4Department of Innovation in Mechanics and Management (DIMEG), University of Padua, Via Venezia 1, 35131 Padova, Italy

Received 26 April 2013; Accepted 18 September 2013

Academic Editor: Michael Jacobs

Copyright © 2013 Patrizia Poli et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Introduction. The role of robotics in poststroke patients’ rehabilitation has been investigated intensively. This paper presents the state-of-the-art and the possible future role of robotics in poststroke rehabilitation, for both upper and lower limbs. Materials and Methods. We performed a comprehensive search of PubMed, Cochrane, and PeDRO databases using as keywords “robot AND stroke AND rehabilitation.” Results and Discussion. In upper limb robotic rehabilitation, training seems to improve arm function in activities of daily living. In addition, electromechanical gait training after stroke seems to be effective. It is still unclear whether robot-assisted arm training may improve muscle strength, and which electromechanical gait-training device may be the most effective for walking training implementation. Conclusions. In the field of robotic technologies for stroke patients’ rehabilitation we identified currently relevant growing points and areas timely for developing research. Among the growing points there is the development of new easily transportable, wearable devices that could improve rehabilitation also after discharge, in an outpatient or home-based setting. For developing research, efforts are being made to establish the ideal type of treatment, the length and amount of training protocol, and the patient’s characteristics to be successfully enrolled to this treatment.