Date of Award

Summer 8-2010

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biomedical Engineering

First Advisor

Johnson, Michelle J.

Second Advisor

Scheidt, Robert A.

Third Advisor



Stroke is the third leading cause of death and second most frequent cause of disability in the United States. Stroke rehabilitation methods have been developed to induce the cortical reorganization and motor-relearning that leads to stroke recovery. In this thesis, we designed and developed an MR conditional upper extremity reach and grasp movement evaluation system for the stroke survivors to study their kinematic performances in reach and grasp movement and the relationship between kinematic metrics and the recovery level measured by clinical assessment methods. We also applied the system into the functional MRI experiments to identify the ability to study motor performance with the system inside the scanner and the reach, grasp and reach-to-grasp movements related brain activation patterns.

Our experiments demonstrates that ours system is an MR conditional system in the 3.0 Tesla magnetic field. It is able to measure the stroke survivors' reach and grasp movement in terms of grasp aperture and elbow joint angles. We used the Mann Whitney U test to examine the significant metrics in each tasks and principle component analysis to decide the major metrics that are associated with the outcome. Then we discovered better recovery scores are associated with these major kinematic metrics such as larger maximal velocity, larger mean velocity, larger maximal movement angle, and longer time to peak velocity. Additional to these metrics, time to maximal angle, time to target and time to peak velocity could also be used as additional metrics to help predict the recovery and assess robot-assisted therapy and optimize task-oriented rehabilitation strategy. We also identified the movement related brain activations in the motor and sensory areas as well as cerebellum in both normal and stroke survivors.