Helping stroke survivors walk as normally as possible – Science Nation

Helping stroke survivors walk as normally as possible – Science Nation

Research team focuses on “locomotor learning” for lasting rehabilitation

Description: A major issue in rehabilitation robotics is that devices such as exoskeletons and treadmills correct patients’ movements only while they are using the device. Gelsy Torres-Oviedo, who has a doctorate in biomedical engineering and is the director of the Sensorimotor Learning Lab at the University of Pittsburgh, hopes to change that.

With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Torres-Oviedo leads a research team that uses rehabilitation robotics and motion capture cameras to study “locomotor learning.” That’s the ability of a patient with an impaired gait to adapt their walking patterns and learn new movements. This research has broad impact for public health because it aims to guide the use of technology for effective gait rehabilitation after stroke, which is the leading cause of long-term disability in the United States.

“We’re very interested in understanding the factors that determine that specificity in learning and how we can manipulate them. We want to help patients retain what they’ve learned and carry it over to their daily living,” says Torres-Oviedo.

The ultimate goal is to use quantitative tools to characterize in a very systematic way the impairments that every stroke survivor has and tailor the intervention.

The research in this episode was supported by NSF award #1535036, the role of naturalistic movements on the generalization of locomotor learning.

NSF Grant URL:

Miles O’Brien, Science Nation Correspondent
Kate Tobin, Science Nation Producer


  1. Timothy Bucky on November 14, 2020 at 8:33 pm

    ten years ago all thought wrongly that we walked with our brain. we have a walk brain in our spine and so can train someone with dead brain in their head to walk with this other brain.

  2. John Paul on November 14, 2020 at 9:11 pm

    I want to try this! I had a stroke in 2017, I wear an AFO & use a quad cane every time I walk

  3. Indra on November 14, 2020 at 9:12 pm

    the gait can be corrected by hand, I have help a few thousand people with this both here ande in India

  4. Angelica Cline on November 14, 2020 at 9:22 pm

    None of the rehabs I have been too, and I’ve been too many do not even offer you the treadmill at all. Let alone one that has split capacity. This is misleading two stroke patients trying to recover that this is going to somehow be available to them. Don’t get me wrong I think it’s cool that they’re doing a case study. Anything that they studied to hopefully advance in the knowledge and understanding of TBI and Recovery is great. However there are many of us they’re looking for reasonable assistance now.

  5. Junie Moon Uy on November 14, 2020 at 9:28 pm

    I’m in the philippines can I have this kind of rehab how??

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