The ATLAS 2030 gait exoskeleton improved the range of motion (ROM) and maximum isometric hip, knee, and ankle strength in 3 children with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) type 2 in a new preliminary study.
The study, published in the Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation, provides data to support the future integration of the ATLAS 2030 into the clinical rehabilitation of children with SMA.
ATLAS 2030 “is the first overground gait exoskeleton for children with SMA and cerebral palsy,” the authors wrote. “The main objectives of this work are: (1) to measure the increase or decrease in the maximal isometric strength of the muscles groups responsible for lower extremity movement, and (2) to assess the changes in ROM of the hips, knees, and ankles.”
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Due to the rarity of SMA, the research team was only able to assess 3 children, all boys from Madrid, Spain, with SMA type 2 who were nonambulatory.
The boys completed 10 training sessions of approximately 50 minutes each with the ATLAS 2030, doing a variety of activities including forward and backward walking, sit-to-stand exercises, standing, balance exercises, and games. All 3 participants successfully completed all 10 sessions.
The authors observed remarkable improvements in the ROM of the lower limbs and the maximal isometric strength of the boys’ hips, knees, and ankles.
The authors caution that the results are difficult to compare with the literature given the lack of studies on the use of exoskeletons for gait improvement in children. However, they expect that the results will provide support for future studies on this methodology and for future integration of the ATLAS 2030 into clinical rehabilitation for these patients.
Cumplido-Trasmonte C, Ramos-Rojas J, Delgado-Castillejo E, et al. Effects of ATLAS 2030 gait exoskeleton on strength and range of motion in children with spinal muscular atrophy II: a case series. J Neuroeng Rehabil. 2022;19(1):75. doi.10.1186/s12984-022-01055-x