A Systematic Review Establishing the Current State-of-the-Art, the Limitations, and the DESIRED Checklist in Studies of Direct Neural Interfacing With Robotic Gait Devices in Stroke Rehabilitation

Olive Lennon, Michele Tonellato, Alessandra Del Felice, Roberto Di Marco, Caitriona Fingleton, Attila Korik, Eleonora Guanziroli, Franco Molteni, Christoph Guger, Rupert Otner, Damien Coyle

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Abstract

Background: Stroke is a disease with a high associated disability burden. Robotic-assisted gait training offers an opportunity for the practice intensity levels associated with good functional walking outcomes in this population. Neural interfacing technology, electroencephalography (EEG), or electromyography (EMG) can offer new strategies for robotic gait re-education after a stroke by promoting more active engagement in movement intent and/or neurophysiological feedback. Objectives: This study identifies the current state-of-the-art and the limitations in direct neural interfacing with robotic gait devices in stroke rehabilitation. Methods: A pre-registered systematic review was conducted using standardized search operators that included the presence of stroke and robotic gait training and neural biosignals (EMG and/or EEG) and was not limited by study type. Results: From a total of 8,899 papers identified, 13 articles were considered for the final selection. Only five of the 13 studies received a strong or moderate quality rating as a clinical study. Three studies recorded EEG activity during robotic gait, two of which used EEG for BCI purposes. While demonstrating utility for decoding kinematic and EMG-related gait data, no EEG study has been identified to close the loop between robot and human. Twelve of the studies recorded EMG activity during or after robotic walking, primarily as an outcome measure. One study used multisource information fusion from EMG, joint angle, and force to modify robotic commands in real time, with higher error rates observed during active movement. A novel study identified used EMG data during robotic gait to derive the optimal, individualized robot-driven step trajectory. Conclusions: Wide heterogeneity in the reporting and the purpose of neurobiosignal use during robotic gait training after a stroke exists. Neural interfacing with robotic gait after a stroke demonstrates promise as a future field of study. However, as a nascent area, direct neural interfacing with robotic gait after a stroke would benefit from a more standardized protocol for biosignal collection and processing and for robotic deployment. Appropriate reporting for clinical studies of this nature is also required with respect to the study type and the participants’ characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number578
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Volume14
Issue numberJune 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2020

Keywords

  • Brain–computer interface
  • Electroencephalography
  • Electromyography
  • Human– machine interface
  • Robot-assisted gait trainer
  • Stroke rehabilitation

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