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Volume 26 Issue 11-12 - Publication Date: 1 November- December June 2007
 
A Haptic Robot Reveals the Adaptation Capability of Individuals with Multiple Sclerosis
 
Maura Casadio, Department of Informatics, Systems and Telematics University of Genova Via Opera Pia 13, 16145 Genova GE, Italy and Foundation ‘Don Carlo Gnocchi’ Via Cisa Vecchia, 19038 Sarzana SP, Italy, Vittorio Sanguineti, Department of Informatics, Systems and Telematics and Research Center for Neuroscience and Neuroengineering University of Genova Via Opera Pia 13, 16145 Genova GE, Italy Claudio Solaro Neurology Department, Hospital “P. Antero Micone” Via D. Oliva 22, 16158 Genova GE, Italy, Pietro G. Morasso Department of Informatics, Systems and Telematics University of Genova Via Opera Pia 13, 16145 Genova GE, Italy
 
A prerequisite for rehabilitation is that patients preserve their ability to adapt to novel dynamic environments, an ability that has been associated with the cerebellar system. In this study, we use a robot manipulandum to assess the ability of multiple sclerosis (MS) subjects in the early phase of the disease to adapt to a speed-dependent force field. Their performance is compared with an equal number of age-matched controls. We found that MS subjects display subtle incoordination problems but do not significantly differ from controls in their ability to adapt to the force field. These findings are discussed in terms of the possible benefits that MS subjects might receive from robot-assisted therapy that is specifically aimed at impaired visuomotor coordination.
 
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