Why Neuro-Rehabilitation is Necessary for Stroke Patients

Every Olympics season, spirits are high. We are enthusiastic about fierce matches and dramatic victories but at the same time we are also impressed by the amazing movements the world class athletes make. The body trained to the human limit and its motions themselves are a piece of art.

Looking at these marvelous motions, most of the people might be frustrated thinking “I won’t be able to move like that”, but this is not quite true. Every unconscious motion of our daily lives (walking, running, eating with a spoon, text-messaging with a smart phone, etc.) actually is a highly trained, elaborate movement. At first, babies meaninglessly shake their limbs and learn how the order of the brain and the movement relate to each other. In this process, a complicated circuit for exercise is created which gradually enables complex motions.

In fact, the distinction between animals including human and plants is the ‘movement’ and it is the key in the signification of the word ‘animal’. The brain fundamentally controls the elaborate motions and is developed to learn new movements. When we generally think of brain, we associate it with the high-level abstract intellectual capacity, but it was created with the primary purpose of realizing physical movements. In the TED Talk below, a world famous neuroscientist Daniel Wolpert specifies this. “The brain was made not to think but to achieve complex, adapted movements”.

  • The video of Professor Daniel Wolpert

We will give you another example. If you would like to know how complicated and difficult realizing the human movements is, let robots do the same thing. The video clip below includes a series of scenes showing how humanoid robots of DARPA Robotics Challenge 2015 “fail”. This robot contest assumes disasters such as fire and assesses how humanoid robots carry out necessary relief works in the given scenario. The robots in the video indicate how unlikely they are to realize movements that common people naturally make.

  • The video of the failure of the robot

Of course it not only relates to motion control but also to intricate matters of sensorimotor integration which involves object recognition and making appropriate orders. Although we are living in a world where the artificial intelligence has defeated a world-best human go player, the “artificial intelligence that realizes physical activities” cannot even easily accomplish a simple movement such as opening a door. This proves how difficult it is to realize elaborate, flexible exercise regulation and motor learning.

No matter how complex motions are, most of the people are moving without much difficulty. Unfortunately, many patients suffering from central nervous system diseases –such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy- cannot do the same. Specific symptoms and the degrees vary according to the affected brain part and its severity but even if the muscles and bones are intact, they could suffer dyskinesia when a brain function that controls physical activity is damaged.
(Image source: www.freedigitalphotos.net)

However, the rehabilitation training could open up possibilities of exercise function recovery. In addition, this probability indicates that the brain not only operates elaborate mobility-regulation but also could re-learn its lost ability or new motions through “exercise learning” process. A simple analogy would be a detour when a road is blocked by construction. In this case, pioneering a path would be a better explanation.

However, like all other learning processes, “how you achieve it” is a key factor in exercise training through rehabilitation. In NEOFECT, by diagnosing patients through detail exercise evaluation, we constantly study and develop optimal training programs. Regarding rehabilitation, a new trend is a fusion between the former neurorehabilitation that concentrates on changes of brain and a recently-significant approach that is based on data. By this change, we expect all patients of motor neuron diseases to recover their beautiful, free movements through efficient rehabilitation.

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