Functional electrical stimulation recumbent bicycle for stroke rehabilitation

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Justin Emile Guy (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:
Martin Tanaka

Abstract: Stroke is a severe condition that is one of the leading causes to both disabilities and death in the United States. A stroke occurs when blood stops flowing to the brain. It only takes minutes without blood before the brain cells begin to be damaged and even die. Up to 90 percent of people who survive a stroke suffer from some form of paralysis. It is common among stroke patients to experience hemiparesis which paralyses on one side of the body. Functional remodeling of the brain can improve sensation and motor control. However, muscles and nerves degrade (atrophy) over time with disuse. The more a muscle atrophies the longer it takes to rehabilitate that muscle and the degree of recovery is reduced. Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) can artificially stimulate these muscles and nerves. FES has been proven to be a viable tool for the rehabilitation of atrophied muscles and nerves. The purpose of this thesis project was to design, build and test a Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) recumbent bicycle that can be used for stroke rehabilitation. An off the shelf FES device was researched and analyzed to determine its capabilities. A circuit was then designed using a recumbent bicycle as the test bed and a Labview program was written as the control mechanism for the FES device. The data collection was done by an optical encoder mounted onto the recumbent bicycle. The system was programmed using Labview for both control and data collection. After the completion of the recumbent bicycle, the protocol and methods were created to provide guidelines for the testing and data analysis. With these guidelines in place, human subject testing could be conducted. The twelve subjects were tested. Electrodes were attached to their thighs and stimulated using the FES device which was controlled by the Labview program. Each participant performed six trials, three with the FES device operating and three with the FES device switched off. The results showed that there were no statistical difference between the test groups, except for the females only group. The female test group pedalled slower with the FES device switched on then with the FES device off. This research showed that the quality of movement was sufficient to allow cycling assisted by FES on the recumbent bicycle. These results may be encouraging for stroke patients with partial hemiparesis and other forms of paralysis to assist them during rehabilitation. The future for FES systems are continuing to progress in a positive direction. This research in conjunction with other research in the biomedical engineering field are enabling new therapy methods that have the potential to improve the quality of life for stroke patients. The FES research completed for the recumbent bicycle showed that the device was capable of properly controlling the leg and propelling it forward with enough power to push the pedal. The experimental study showed that the quality of movement was sufficient to allow cycling assisted by FES on a Recumbent Bicycle. In fact, no statistical differences were found between normal cycling and FES assisted cycling for most groups studied. Initial testing seems suitable for future studies that assist with stroke patients during rehabilitation.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2013
Electrical, Functional, Hemiparesis, Recumbent, Stimulation, Stroke
Cerebrovascular disease -- Patients -- Rehabilitation -- Technological innovations
Stationary bicycles -- Health aspects

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