A Novel Method for Locomotion Training

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Abstract

This article describes a novel therapeutic system for locomotion training and learning for patients with a wide range of neurological and musculoskeletal disorders. The technique embraces the notion that locomotion therapy should be goal oriented and task specific. The task specificity includes a partial weight-bearing device that permits the posture/equilibrium, movement, and weight-bearing components of gait function to operate concurrently, even in patients with serious deficits. In addition, it allows interaction with therapists and others to facilitate locomotion control, particularly during the early stages of gait therapy. Neurobiological bases for this technique and early clinical results are discussed, and two case studies of patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) are presented. Although well-designed efficacy studies are needed, clearly this therapeutic approach to locomotor disorders among TBI patients meets the various criteria for recovery of gait function established in this article.

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