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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2016, Article ID 6809879, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/6809879
Research Article

Short-Term Effect of Prosthesis Transforming Sensory Modalities on Walking in Stroke Patients with Hemiparesis

1Research Institute of Electrical Communication, Tohoku University, 2-2-1 Katahira, Aoba-ku, Sendai 980-8577, Japan
2Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, 2-1 Seiryo-machi, Sendai 980-8575, Japan
3Graduate School of Biomedical Engineering, Tohoku University, 2-1 Seiryo-machi, Sendai 980-8575, Japan

Received 26 February 2016; Revised 23 June 2016; Accepted 3 July 2016

Academic Editor: Malgorzata Kossut

Copyright © 2016 Dai Owaki 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

Sensory impairments caused by neurological or physical disorders hamper kinesthesia, making rehabilitation difficult. In order to overcome this problem, we proposed and developed a novel biofeedback prosthesis called Auditory Foot for transforming sensory modalities, in which the sensor prosthesis transforms plantar sensations to auditory feedback signals. This study investigated the short-term effect of the auditory feedback prosthesis on walking in stroke patients with hemiparesis. To evaluate the effect, we compared four conditions of auditory feedback from plantar sensors at the heel and fifth metatarsal. We found significant differences in the maximum hip extension angle and ankle plantar flexor moment on the affected side during the stance phase, between conditions with and without auditory feedback signals. These results indicate that our sensory prosthesis could enhance walking performance in stroke patients with hemiparesis, resulting in effective short-term rehabilitation.