Date of Award

Summer 2008

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Schmit, Brian D.

Second Advisor

Scheidt, Robert A.

Third Advisor

Winters, Jack M.


Stroke is the leading cause of disability in U.S. and has a substantial effect on motor function. Each year about 700,000 people suffer a new or recurrent stroke in the United States. Over 150,000 of these people die; making stroke the third leading cause of death. About 5.7 million U.S. stroke survivors are alive today (AHA 2007), and approximately 40% experience chronic hemiparesis resulting in functional impairment of the upper extremity (Parker et al. 1986, Nakayama et al. 1994). A number of clinical and therapeutic interventions are being employed to improve different aspects of impairments post stroke, including botulinum toxin injection, and physical and occupational therapy (Ward et al. 2003, Winstein et al. 2004, Satkunam, 2003). However, less than 50% of the stroke survivors are able to return to work (Vestling et al. 2003, Wozniak et al. 1999), indicating a considerable need to improve rehabilitation strategies to reduce the impact of stroke on functional activities. One important focus of rehabilitation is enhancing motor function in the upper extremity to promote independence with activities such as dressing, eating, and writing. Neural and mechanical coupling across multiple joints are important factors that contribute to the quality of arm movements in able-bodied individuals, as well as in subjects with motor deficits (Sainburg et al. 1993)...



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