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Background: Clinical practice typically emphasizes active involvement during therapy. However, traditional approaches can offer only general guidance on the form of involvement that would be most helpful to recovery. Beyond assisting movement, robots allow comprehensive methods for measuring practice behaviors, including the energetic input of the learner. Using data from our previous study of robot-assisted therapy, we examined how separate components of mechanical work contribute to predicting training outcomes. Methods: Stroke survivors (n = 11) completed six sessions in two-weeks of upper extremity motor exploration (self-directed movement practice) training with customized forces, while a control group (n = 11) trained without assistance. We employed multiple regression analysis to predict patient outcomes with computed mechanical work as independent variables, including separate features for elbow versus shoulder joints, positive (concentric) and negative (eccentric), flexion and extension. Results: Our analysis showed that increases in total mechanical work during therapy were positively correlated with our final outcome metric, velocity range. Further analysis revealed that greater amounts of negative work at the shoulder and positive work at the elbow as the most important predictors of recovery (using cross-validated regression, R2 = 52%). However, the work features were likely mutually correlated, suggesting a prediction model that first removed shared variance (using PCA, R2 = 65-85%). Conclusions: These results support robotic training for stroke survivors that increases energetic activity in eccentric shoulder and concentric elbow actions. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, Identifier: NCT02570256. Registered 7 October 2015 - Retrospectively registered,
Wright, Z. A., Majeed, Y. A., Patton, J. L., & Huang, F. C. (2020). Key components of mechanical work predict outcomes in robotic stroke therapy. Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation, 17(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12984-020-00672-8