Available master thesis

 

Thesis Longitudinal brain plasticity in post-stroke patients
Supervisors Alessandra Pedrocchi (alessandra.pedrocchi@polimi.it)
Marta Gandolla (marta.gandolla@polimi.it)
Collaborations Dr Nick Ward (UCL Institute of Neurology)
thesis7
Description
  • Aim:

to identify the longitudinal modifications at cortical level (brain correlates and connectivity), and test/search for predictive markers for the success of FES-based drop foot treatment in post-stroke patients.

  • Project phases:

– Brain activity mapping – i.e. description of the longitudinal modification, if any, in brain activation related to the selected motor task (i.e., ankle dorsiflexion)
– Connectivity mapping, supervised approach – i.e. description of the connectivity map and relative longitudinal modification with Dynamic Causal Modeling approach (DCM)
– Connectivity mapping, non-supervised approach – i.e. description of the connectivity map and relative longitudinal modification with graph theory approach

Thesis MYO control for rehabilitation treatment
Supervisors Alessandra Pedrocchi (alessandra.pedrocchi@polimi.it)
Marta Gandolla (marta.gandolla@polimi.it)
Collaborations Idrogenet
Villa Beretta Rehabilitation Center
figura_t2
Description
  • Aim:

to use MYO portable, Bluetooth EMG/inertial device to develop and test a biofeedback for the treatment of hand rehabilitation in neurological patients.

  • Project phases:

– Analysis of literature and identification of requirements
– Design and implementation of the biofeedback combining data from EMG and inertial sensors to be fed-back online to the patients
– Implementation of a proper GUI
– Pilot tests with healthy subjects and final end-users

Thesis GUI development and system test within the BRIDGE project
Supervisors Alessandra Pedrocchi (alessandra.pedrocchi@polimi.it)
Marta Gandolla (marta.gandolla@polimi.it)
Collaborations Villa Beretta Rehabilitation Center
IRCCS Medea
Description
  • Aim:

To design and develop a user-friendly GUI to guide the users and their caregiver to wear and set-up the system at home will has to be developed.
The key concept of the BRIDGE project is to contrast the everyday experience of people with neuromuscular diseases of losing functions by providing them of a system able to exploit the best their own residual capabilities in arm movements so to keep them functional and autonomous as much as possible. Specifically, the project will develop a system to assist users’ arm movements, preserving a direct interaction of the user, adapting to the current disability status of the single user and to the progression of the disease.

  • Project phases:

– Up-to-date of the BRIDGE project
– Design and development of a user-friendly GUI which allow cope with the current disability status of the single user and to the progression of the disease
– Test of the GUI and the system on healthy subjects and a pilot group of final end-users.

Thesis Cerebellar controller for humanoid robots
Supervisor Alessandra Pedrocchi (alessandra.pedrocchi@polimi.it)
Co-Supervisors Claudia Casellato (claudia.casellato@polimi.it)
Alberto Antonietti (alberto.antonietti@polimi.it)
Alice Geminiani (alice.geminiani@polimi.it)
Collaborations University of Pavia
Description
  • Aim:

Embedding a cerebellar spiking neural network in the controller of a humanoid robot (NAO) and testing learning capabilities during cerebellum-driven paradigms.

  • Project phases:

– Embed the existing cerebellar module within a new robotic platform (humanoid, NAO)
– Design of new testing paradigms
– Verify the performance of the control loop and test the learning capabilities.

Thesis Optimization of neuron models for Spiking Neural Networks
Supervisor Alessandra Pedrocchi (alessandra.pedrocchi@polimi.it)
Co-Supervisors Claudia Casellato (claudia.casellato@polimi.it)
Alberto Antonietti (alberto.antonietti@polimi.it)
Alice Geminiani (alice.geminiani@polimi.it)
Collaborations University of Pavia
EPFL (Lausanne, Switzerland)
figura_t5
Description
  • Aim:

Find the optimized neuron model between the available ones in the NEST simulator to reproduce salient properties of the neuronal population in the cerebellar circuit.

  • Project phases:

– Identify the characteristics of each neural population (e.g. auto rhythm, bursting, sub-threshold oscillations)
– Choose and tune the corresponding models between the available ones (e.g. Leaky Integrate&Fire, Generalized Leaky I&F, Hodgkin-Huxley model, etc.)
– Develop test to highlight the improvements and the differences that arise using the identified optimized neural models.

Thesis Does FES-augmented cycling training influence motor coordination in post-acute stroke patients?
Supervisor Alessandra Pedrocchi (alessandra.pedrocchi@polimi.it)
Simona Ferrante (simona.ferrante@polimi.it)
Co-Supervisor Emilia Ambrosini (emilia.ambrosini@polimi.it)
Collaborations Fondazione Salvatore Maugeri, Istituto di Lissone
Biolab3, Università di Roma TRE
Muscle synergies during pedaling after stroke
Description
  • Aim:

Motor system seems to rely on a modular organization (muscle synergies activated in time) to execute different biomechanical tasks. During locomotion, individuals post-stroke often exhibit poor inter-muscular coordination (poor timing and merging of modules that are normally independent in healthy individuals). This study aims at investigating the effects of a longitudinal cycling training augmented by electrical stimulation on modular muscle coordination in post-acute stroke patients.

  • Project phases:

– Data acquisition on stroke patients
– Data Analysis
– Correlation between changes in module quality and improvements in motor performance.

Thesis Reliability of TMS-related measures of cortical excitability in stroke patients
Supervisor Alessandra Pedrocchi (alessandra.pedrocchi@polimi.it)
Simona Ferrante (simona.ferrante@polimi.it)
Co-Supervisor Emilia Ambrosini (emilia.ambrosini@polimi.it)
Elisabetta Peri (elisabetta.peri@polimi.it)
Collaborations Fondazione Salvatore Maugeri, Istituto di Lissone
Michael Grey, University of Birmingham
Example of Stimulus-Response curve acquired on the TA of a healthy subject
Description
  • Aim:

In individual post-stroke, an increased cortical excitability seems to be correlated with an improved motor recovery. However, measures of cortical excitability based on Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) suffer from high variability. The aim of this work is to investigate the test-retest variability of TMS-related measured acquired from the Tibialis Anterior muscle of a group od stroke patient. An estimate of the measurement error is indeed needed in order to identify real changes of cortical excitability in longitudinal studies.

  • Project phases:

– Definition of the experimental protocol
– Data acquisition on stroke patients
– Data analysis and statistics.

Thesis Development of a real-time and wearable platform for gait assessment in neurological patients and elderly
Supervisor Alessandra Pedrocchi (alessandra.pedrocchi@polimi.it)
Simona Ferrante (simona.ferrante@polimi.it)
Collaborations Alberto Borghese, Department of Computer Science, UNIMI
Description
  • Aim:

This project aims at the development of a real-time, flexible, and wearable platform to be used for the assessment of altered gait pattern in neurological patients and older adults.

  • Project phases:

– Integration of a kit of wireless inertial sensors (XSENS) with shoes insoles in a real-time linux-based platform
– Optimization of an algorithm for the detention of gait events
– Validation of the system on a group of healthy elderly subjects.

Thesis Multimodal biofeedback-based training to promote locomotion recovery in post-stroke patients: a randomized controlled trial
Supervisor Alessandra Pedrocchi (alessandra.pedrocchi@polimi.it)
Simona Ferrante (simona.ferrante@polimi.it)
Co-Supervisor Emilia Ambrosini (emilia.ambrosini@polimi.it)
Elisabetta Peri (elisabetta.peri@polimi.it)
Collaborations Fondazione Salvatore Maugeri, Istituto di Lissone
Study design
Description
  • Aim:

Goal oriented, active, and repetitive movements, possibly supported by Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) to augment movement proprioception, demonstrated to have a central role in the rehabilitation of post-stroke patients. The hypothesis is that a rehabilitative program involving biofeedback cycling augmented by FES and balance training is superior to usual care in improving motor recovery and independence of post-acute stroke patients. The aim of the present thesis is to investigate the effectiveness of this biofeedback-based rehabilitation program for the recovery of locomotor abilities in post-acute stroke patients through a randomized controlled trial (RCT).

  • Project phases:

– Data acquisition on stroke patients
– Data analysis and statistics.

Thesis Instrumented cane for transparent gait monitoring
Supervisor Simona Ferrante (simona.ferrante@polimi.it)
Francesca Lunardini (francesca.lunardini@polimi.it)
Collaborations AIS Lab, Università degli studi di Milano
Fondazione Salvatore Maugeri, Istituto di Lissone
Description
  • Aim:

This thesis is included in the context of the European project Movecare aimed at supporting the elder at home with a transparent monitoring system able to detect early signs of physical and cognitive degradation. The goal of the thesis is the design of a cane instrumented with pressure and inertial sensors that is intended to be a support to monitor the locomotion of the elder and to detect any physical degradation index correlated to his/her gait pattern. The integration of such a cane with insoles or a sensorized mat can be used to validate the features extracted.

  • Project phases:

– Design of a prototype of instrumented cane based on pressure and inertial sensors
– Design of algorithms to estimate relevant gait features and parameters
– Experimental validation

Thesis Development of a mobile application for gait assessment in neurological patients and elderly
Supervisor Simona Ferrante (simona.ferrante@polimi.it)
Francesca Lunardini (francesca.lunardini@polimi.it)
Collaborations AIS Lab, Università degli studi di Milano
Description
  • Aim:

Walking is a complex motor task generally performed automatically by healthy adults. With aging, motor control while walking requires more attention and the rate of falls increases. Several studies have identified changes in certain gait parameters as predictors of fall risk. Such gait changes are often too discrete to be detected by clinical observation alone. Early detection of gait disorders and fall risk permits early intervention and, in the best-case scenario, fall prevention. A mobile app to analyze gait parameters measured through instrumented insoles during everyday outdoor gait can be a solution for the early detection of gait impairments in elderly

  • Project phases:

starting from Moticon Science instrumented Insoles and the prioprietary mobile app by Moticon with basic functionalities:

– Literature research on relevant gait indexes in elderly
– Validation of the proprietary mobile app of healthy elderly subjects
– Development of mobile app with advanced functionalities
– Validation of the system on a group of healthy elderly subjects

Thesis Instrumented smart pen to study handwriting parameters in elderly
Supervisor Simona Ferrante (simona.ferrante@polimi.it)
Stefano Tolomeo (stefano.tolomeo@polimi.it)
Emilia Ambrosini (emilia.ambrosini@polimi.it)
Collaborations AIS Lab, Università degli studi di Milano
Description
  • Aim:

Handwriting is a complex task which becomes increasingly difficult with ageing due to decreasing grip force or limited sensations and movements in fingers.
Several studies have identified changes in handwriting parameters in elderly such as writing speed, pen pressure, smoothness of the trajectory, tremor, etc.
Is it possible to detect early signs of decline in elderly analysing daily life handwriting?
A smart pen to analyze handwriting parameters measured through built-in pressure, accelerometer and gyroscope sensors in the everyday life can be the properly solution.

  • Project phases:

Starting from an instrumented and ergonomic pen for writing on standard paper, with built-in sensors (pen pressure, accelerometer, gyroscope):

– Literature research on relevant handwriting parameters and changes in the elderly
– Study of handwriting parameters which can be linked to distinct aspect of frailty being handwriting not included in the traditional definition of the frailty phenotype
– Development of handwriting models based on the literature studies with advanced functionalities
– Validation of the system on a group of healthy elderly subjects

Thesis Exergames for physical training in elderly
Supervisor Simona Ferrante (simona.ferrante@polimi.it)
Francesca Lunardini (francesca.lunardini@polimi.it)
Collaborations AIS Lab, Università degli studi di Milano
Description
  • Aim:

Age-related weakening of  sensory  and  neuromuscular control mechanisms has a negative effect on balance, which translates in an increased risk of falling.
Balance training becomes a key tool to  prevent  falls  in  elderly, but it is difficult to obtain adherence to prevention physical programs for elderly.
The use of exergaming  to boost  the  user’s  motivation in participating in engaging balance and physical training programs may represent a valid solution to prevent the risk of falling in elderly

  • Project phases:

starting from a game controlled through instrumented insoles and the design of the first exergame:

– Literature research on physical exergames in elderly
– Study of physical parameters which can be linked to frailty in elderly
– Design and development of more exergames to train physical aspects in elderly (with introduction of dual-task paradigm in the physical game)
– Validation of the exergames on a group of healthy elderly subjects

Thesis Mobile App for Auditory Cueing to reduce Freezing of Gait in patients with Parkinson’s Disease
Supervisor Simona Ferrante (simona.ferrante@polimi.it)
Stefano Tolomeo (stefano.tolomeo@polimi.it)
Francesca Lunardini (francesca.lunardini@polimi.it)
Collaborations Dr Giorgio Ferriero – Fondazione Salvatore Maugeri, Istituto di Lissone
Description
  • Aim:

Freezing of gait (FOG) is a debilitating symptom of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and occurs when patients are unable to move their feet when trying to walk.
Auditory Cueing is the process whereby movement is synchronized to (rhythmic) sounds.
Although many studies have reported a positive effect of auditory cueing in reducing FOG in PD patients, the underlying mechanisms are still unclear.
The development of a mobile app that provides PD patients with auditory cues to guide their gait may represent an efficient solution to investigate FOG reduction in everyday life.

  • Project phases:

thanks to the availability of PD patients at the Salvatore Maugeri Foundation:

– Literature research on auditory cueing to reduce FOG in PD patients
– Design, development and validation of Mobile App in clinical and home settings
– Investigate the effect of different auditory cueing strategies in improving FOG in a group of PD patients

Thesis Voice analysis to detect stress and early sign of cognitive decline
Supervisor Emilia Ambrosini (emilia.ambrosini@polimi.it)
Simona Ferrante (simona.ferrante@polimi.it)
Collaborations SignalGeneriX Ltd (possibility to spend a period of the thesis abroad)
Description
  • Aim:

Voice signals provide important information to measure and model human behaviors, especially to estimate the emotional state of a person. Characteristics of the voice signal, such as glottal spectral slope, pitch or intensity, may offer information about the voice stress levels. Various types of dementia affect human speech and language, and disorders or irregularities in the language domain could be a strong predictor of disease progression.
In this thesis, the student will develop and validate a software tool able to automatically to extract a set of stress indicators and features sensitive to cognitive decline from voice signals .

  • Project phases:

starting from a microphone with an embedded system for speech recognition and pre-processing available at Signal GeneriX Ltd:

– Literature review on vocal indicators of stress and cognitive decline
– Creation of a database of normal and stress voice samples from elderly
– Design and validation of an algorithm to compute voice signal characteristics (e.g pitch, jitter, pace, gottal closure openings and closing instants, etc.)
– Integration of the microphone in the MOVECARE architecture (http://www.movecare-project.eu/)