Dr. Sean Dukelow

Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary,

Clinicians have always been able to use their keen perception of human behaviour to identify the presence of significant neurological deficits in their patients. However, there is a lack of large-scale quantitative data on the specific deficits associated with a broad range of brain-related diseases. Thus, Dr. Sean Dukelow, an Associate Professor at the University of Calgary, has spent the last 10 years using the Kinarm Exoskeleton Lab to collect objective data about neurological deficits resulting from a range of brain injuries and diseases.

He has published widely on the neurological impairments associated with stroke, sport concussion, traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord injury, Tourette’s syndrome, Autism, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, tremor, and developmental coordination disorder (DCD). He has authored papers that use Kinarm Standard Tests (Visually Guided Reaching, Arm Position Matching and Object Hit), and has created a custom task called the Kinesthesia Task for measuring kinesthetic deficits. Importantly, he uses the Kinarm to explore the relationships between different types of deficits, such as: motor and proprioceptive deficits, and visuospatial (using BIT) and kinesthetic deficits (using Kinarm). He has also investigated the relationship between the anatomical location of the injury and proprioceptive deficits. The American Heart Association (AHA) recognized Dr. Dukelow’s studies as “generating data that cannot be obtained by a human examiner” (Winstein et al, 2016).

In an article by Alberta Health Services, Dr. Dukelow explains why he uses the Kinarm: “What we find is that the robot is more sensitive in picking the deficits up in terms of movement, and we hope this will give us new insight into developing treatments”. Although these more subtle deficits may not always be obvious on a standard clinical exam, they are important for day to day function. Therefore, Dr. Dukelow has also begun developing novel approaches towards patient recovery using the Kinarm Lab.