Abstract: Background and Aims: In this pilot study we introduce “NeReBot”, a novel robotic device designed and programmed for clinical neurological applications. The aim of the study was to test whether additional sensorimotor training of the paralyzed or paretic upper limb, delivered by NeReBot, enhanced motor and functional outcome in stroke patients.
Methods: Twenty patients with post-stroke hemiparesis or hemiplegia received standard post-stroke multidisciplinary rehabilitation, and were randomly assigned either to exposure to the robotic device without training or to additional sensorimotor robotic training (about 4 h/week) for 4 weeks. Said training consisted of peripheral manipulation of the impaired limb (passive and active-assisted exercising of the shoulder and elbow) with correlated visual and acoustic stimuli.
Results: At hospital discharge, impairment and disability had declined in all the patients, but the group with robot training showed higher gains on motor impairment and functional recovery, which were maintained at the 3-month follow-up. No adverse events resulted from robot-assisted therapy. Conclusions: According to our results, NeReBot therapy may efficaciously complement standard post-stroke multidisciplinary rehabilitation and offer novel therapeutic strategies for neurological rehabilitation.