Karen J. Nolan, PhD: Using Exoskeletons for Patients With Gait Challenges


The senior research scientist in the Center for Mobility and Rehabilitation Engineering Research at Kessler Foundation spoke about using the exoskeleton and dermal skeleton devices in functional recovery for patients who have lost the ability to walk.

“The problem that you’re dealing with is that you have asymmetrical weakness of the lower extremities…With most of these devices, the specialty of them is that you can provide variable assistance.”

When it comes to patients with stroke, traumatic brain injury, and acquired brain injury, gait problems can become a challenge for physicians to address. Loss of the ability to walk or instability in leg function can be detrimental to a patient’s quality of life.

At the Kessler Foundation, Karen J. Nolan, PhD, senior research scientist, Center for Mobility and Rehabilitation Engineering Research, and colleagues are working toward providing patients a way to address gait issues. Using exoskeletons and dermal skeletons, which can help respectively in providing stability and support for the muscles and the joints.

In a conversation with NeurologyLive, Nolan detailed the work that the Kessler Foundation is doing with these devices, as well as some of the advantages that they provide in their software. Their flexible programming, she noted, allows for them to be personalized and used as an extension of the physical therapist.

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