Soft Robotic Exercise Intervention for Enhancing Neuroplasticity After Stroke

Project: Research


  • Anna Roto (PI)


Specific Aims: To evaluate the effects of a soft robotic exercise intervention on training intensity.To evaluate the effects of a soft robotic exercise intervention on serum BDNF.Methods: 24 participants, >6 months poststroke will complete two maximal effort, symptom-limited graded exercise tests, one with and one without exosuit assistance. Exercise test intensity will be modulated using treadmill incline. Participants will start each test at 0% treadmill incline and ≥ 85% of their fastest walking speed. Speed will remain constant throughout the test and treadmill incline will increase by 2% every two minutes until test termination. Individuals will walk to volitional fatigue, peak volitional exertion, gait instability, or signs of cardiac distress on ECG. Testing will be randomized and completed at least one week apart. Continuous indirect calorimetry will be collected during each test, and blood samples for BDNF analysis will be taken before and after exercise.Hypothesized Results:We hypothesize that the gait-restorative effects of soft robotic exosuits can be harnessed to (H1.1) facilitate high intensity (HI) exercise (≥70% heart rate reserve) in patients unable to achieve these intensity levels during gait training and (H1.2) extend the duration of HI exercise by reducing premature termination of exercise due to fatigue or for physical safety resulting from poor biomechanics. We also hypothesize that exosuit-induced increases in the duration and intensity of exercise (H2) will result in increases in serum BDNF.
Award amount$53,688.00
Award date01/01/2019
Program typePredoctoral Fellowship
Award ID19PRE34430087
Effective start/end date01/01/201904/30/2021