Most promising interventions to restore walking function in stroke are based on robotic systems that intend to restore function by focusing on actions at periphery of the body (a BOTTOM-UP approach). By imposing gait-like movements at a more normal speed and without restricted duration, such robotic devices are thought to provide many of the afferent cues regarded as critical to retraining locomotion. BETTER is a European project that will develop a new approach for gait training in which such assistive technologies (ATs) might be improved if combined with non-invasive BNCI in order to increase the effectiveness in recovering function.

The principal goal of BETTER is to improve physical rehabilitation therapies of gait disorders in stroke patients based on BNCI assistive technologies, producing improved systems, providing guidelines for improving future systems, and developing benchmarking and evaluation tools. The project will validate, technically, functionally and clinically, the concept of improving stroke rehabilitation with wearable exoskeletons and robotic gait trainers based on a TOP-DOWN approach: The robot exerts physical stimulation -at the periphery- as a function of targeted neural activation patterns (related to user involvement). This intervention is expected to result in reorganizations in the cortex. Such Top-Down therapeutic treatment would aim to encourage plasticity of the affected brain structures to improve motor function.


This project is funded by the European Commission. "BETTER – FP7-2009-7.2 – STREP – Contract Number: 247935 under Call "ICT restoring and augmenting human capabilities compensating reduced motor functions or disabilities ".
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