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Training with Therapist Improves Walking After Stroke

Improvement better than by robotic-assisted locomotor training

FRIDAY, May 9 (HealthDay News) -- Therapist-assisted locomotor training is superior to robotic-assisted training in improving walking ability in stroke patients, according to a report published online May 8 in Stroke.

T. George Hornby, Ph.D., M.P.T., from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and colleagues randomly assigned 48 ambulatory stroke patients with hemiparesis to 12 half-hour locomotor training sessions assisted by either a single therapist or a robotic orthosis.

The researchers found that therapist-assisted training produced greater improvements in speed and single limb stance time. There were greater improvements in speed in patients with less severe gait deficits, they add. Only patients with severe gait deficits who received therapist-assisted training showed improvements in their perceived ratings of the effects of physical limitations on quality of life.

"Therapist-assisted locomotor training facilitates greater improvements in walking ability in ambulatory stroke survivors as compared to a similar dosage of robotic-assisted locomotor training," Hornby and colleagues conclude.

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