Saturday November 23, 2019

Lower-limb Robot Exoskeleton, a wearable Robot likely to help Paralytic Patients move

Researchers from Beihang University in China and Aalborg University in Denmark developed the wearable robot to quickly recover from the stroke and spinal cord injury.

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Knee Joint. Pixabay.

Washington, October 26, 2016:  In good news for stroke and spinal cord injury patients, researchers have designed a lower-limb robot exoskeleton — a wearable robot that features natural knee movement to help patients regain the ability to walk or help strengthen their muscles. Researchers from Beihang University in China and Aalborg University in Denmark developed the wearable robot to greatly improve patients’ comfort and willingness to wear it for gait rehabilitation.

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The team’s approach focused on the knee joint, one of the most complex mechanical systems within the human body and a critical player during gait. The knee joint’s motion is actuated by several skeletal muscles along its articular surfaces, and its center of rotation moves. “Our new design features a parallel knee joint to improve the bio-imitability and adaptability of the exoskeleton,” explained Weihai Chen, professor at Beihang University. Movement transparency is critical when wearing a robot for gait rehab.

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When wearing the exoskeleton, its movement should be synchronised and consistent with a patient’s natural movement. For this, the team focused on bionic mechanical design. “To improve the transparency of the robot, we studied the structure of the human body, then built our model based on a biometric design of the lower limb exoskeleton,” Chen said. This design is the first known use of a parallel mechanism at the knee joint to imitate skeletal muscles.

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As far as its applications, the exoskeleton’s main role will be to help stroke or spinal cord injury patients with their rehab. “We plan to streamline it to be wearable and to provide a comfortable training experience,” Chen noted in the journal Review of Scientific Instruments. The team is also developing virtual reality games to help make the training process more enjoyable. The next step for the team is to collaborate with hospitals, because testing the robot out with patients can provide critical feedback from patients and doctors. (IANS).

  • Antara

    Hope it becomes greatly effective!

Next Story

Immune Cells Become Active and Repair Brain While Sleep: Study

For the findings, researchers conducted the study on mice

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Study suggests that the enhanced remodeling of neural circuits and repair of lesions during Sleep may be mediated in part by the ability of microglia to dynamically interact with the Brain. Pixabay

Researchers have found that immune cells called microglia, which play an important role in reorganising the connections between nerve cells, fighting infections, and repairing damage, are also primarily active while we sleep.

Microglia serve as the brain’s first responders, patrolling the brain and spinal cord and springing into action to stamp out infections or gobble up debris from dead cell tissue.

“This research shows that the signals in our brain that modulate the sleep and awake state also act as a switch that turns the immune system off and on,” said study lead author Ania Majewska, Professor at University of Rochester in the US.

In previous studies, Majewska’s lab has shown how microglia interact with synapses, the juncture where the axons of one neuron connects and communicates with its neighbours.

The microglia help maintain the health and function of the synapses and prune connections between nerve cells when they are no longer necessary for brain function.

For the findings, researchers conducted the study on mice.

The current study points to the role of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that signals arousal and stress in the central nervous system.

This chemical is present in low levels in the brain while we sleep, but when production ramps up it arouses our nerve cells, causing us to wake up and become alert.

The study showed that norepinephrine also acts on a specific receptor, the beta2 adrenergic receptor, which is expressed at high levels in microglia.

When this chemical is present in the brain, the microglia slip into a sort of hibernation.

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Researchers have found that immune cells called microglia, which play an important role in reorganising the connections between nerve cells, fighting infections, and repairing damage, are also primarily active while we Sleep and affects Brain. Pixabay

The study, which employed an advanced imaging technology that allows researchers to observe activity in the living brain, showed that when mice were exposed to high levels of norepinephrine, the microglia became inactive and were unable to respond to local injuries and pulled back from their role in rewiring brain networks.

“This work suggests that the enhanced remodeling of neural circuits and repair of lesions during sleep may be mediated in part by the ability of microglia to dynamically interact with the brain,” said study first author Rianne Stowell.

ALSO READ: Scientists Link ‘Brain Fog’ to Body Illness

“Altogether, this research also shows that microglia are exquisitely sensitive to signals that modulate brain function and that microglial dynamics and functions are modulated by the behavioural state of the animal,” Stowell said.

The study was published in the journal Nature Neuroscience. (IANS)