Walking Robot MoreGait
Field/Branche: Medical engineering
Topic: Walking rehabilitation
Therapeutical background: The human musculoskeletal system is a highly complex process which requires the necessary muscles and joints to interact with the senses of seeing, balance and feeling to build up a collective movement out of many small ones. This coordination process can be disturbed by damages of the Central-Nervous-System, a spinal cord injury or a stroke are only two out of many example that can affect the walking ability from one second to another. Also there are slowly developing medical conditions like Parkinson or Multiple Sclerosis that threaten the walking ability and lead to the need of a wheelchair.
The primary goal of the rehabilitation process is to regain the previously damaged daily motion abilities of the patients. Special significance is on the rehabilitation of the ability to walk due to its high value to being reintegrated in the private and professional life as well as lifting the personal living quality up. Is the patient still able to actively move at least small parts of its leg muscles, a intense walking training can lead to a major advantage in the healing process.
The principle of the therapie is " you learn walking by walking". Goal of this kind of therapie is it to regain a better motoric control reactivate disturbed muscleregions due to constant reputition and practise. It is assumed that a reorganisation of neuronal structures in brain and spine is possible because of the lifelong neuro plasticity. Neuro plasticity describes the ability of the central nervous system to rebuilt new nervous connections in order to replace damaged cell functions. The knowledge, that the spine is not only a connection between brain and muscles but has a own spinal intelligence which can create a motion pattern, is of major importance.
Study results: on 5 research laboratory examples 30 partly paraplegic patients worked out 3-4 times weekly for 8 weeks whithin their residences on training equipment which caused a positiv progress of over 50% concerning their ability to walk and endurance with reduced helping equipment.