Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder causing limb weakness, limited mobility, and lack of coordination and is the leading childhood disability.The researchers suggests that prolonged at-home use can eventually lead to children with cerebral palsy walking free of any assistance.
The exoskeleton mostly displayed improvements with crouch gait in children with cerebral palsy. Couch gait is a condition causing excessive knee bending as a result of this incurable disease. Rather than guiding the lower limbs, the exoskeleton changed the posture by introducing discrete bursts of knee extension assistance while the children were walking.
About one in 323 children in the United States are diagnosed with cerebral palsy, according to the CDC. The condition is caused by brain damage or abnormal development of the brain while a child's brain is developing either before, during or immediately after birth. Half of children with cerebral palsy cease to walk in adulthood.
Researchers said that the ability to walk contributed to physical health and overall well-being particularly in children with motor disability, 'and is therefore prioritized as a rehabilitation goal.' The improvements in the children's posture and crouch gait warrant longer-term studies with robotic exoskeleton assistance.
Researchers say the next step is to conduct the study on a larger scale where children will use exoskeletons at home for a year, giving them access to the type of physical therapy that could leave them without the need of any assistance.
According to dailymail