STAND-ALONE: "STand AND wALk". OptimiziNg agency of Exoskeleton in spinal cord injury (SCI) patients, and the impact of prosthetic learning on wake-sleep activity

Proponente Luigi De Gennaro - Professore Ordinario
Sottosettore ERC del proponente del progetto
Componenti gruppo di ricerca
Componente Categoria
Anna Maria Giannini Componenti il gruppo di ricerca
Mariella Pazzaglia Componenti il gruppo di ricerca
Componente Qualifica Struttura Categoria
Maurizio Gorgoni Borsista Dipartimento di Geriatria Neuroscienze ed Ortopedia - Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore Altro personale Sapienza o esterni
Michele Ferrara Professore Associato Dip. di Scienze cliniche applicate e biotecnologiche, Università degli Studi dell'Aquila Altro personale Sapienza o esterni

Functional recovery of paralyzed limbs has a high priority in the rehabilitation of spinal cord injuries (SCIs). In recent years, there has been an increased focus on robotic technologies for recovery and rehabilitative treating. Several complex lower limb exoskeletons (EXO) are commercially available, and others are in the prototype stage. STAND-ALONE proposes a paradigm change in rehabilitation and assistance of patients with SCI for optimizing human-machine interactions. STAND-ALONE aims to generate new knowledge on the multisensory modulation of motor bodily experiences, and the impact of adopting an embodied approach when using robotic legs in cases of brain-body disconnection. Enriching bodily perceptions in patients with SCI call for intensive sensorimotor learning, and STAND-ALONE provides an important scientific platform to study neural plasticity. The project addresses some crucial aspects of the consolidation of learning and memory during sleep in shaping/reshaping new learning, contributing to basic research on sleep functions and potentially maximizing the success of neurorehabilitation via EXO prototypes. SCI patients can thus benefit in two scenarios: (i) rehabilitation in the sub-acute phase, by maximizing the recovery of, e.g., locomotion and associated functions; (ii) assistance in the chronic phase, by maximizing patient independence. Based on various approaches ranging from multisensory methods and actigraphy as a measure of wake-sleep activity, a new communication form between EXOs and SCIs will be investigated and developed.
Aims 1: Study sleep changes that are strictly linked to modifications related to the use of EXO, and examine how these measures predict the extent of rehabilitation.
Aims 2: Develop new methods for enriching bodily perceptions in patients with an SCI, thus inducing strong senses of identification and agency that are crucial for making the inclusion of a robotic EXO much more flexible and effective.


© Università degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza" - Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Roma