Posts Tagged mental imagery

[Abstract] Motor imagery as a complementary technique for functional recovery after stroke: a systematic review.


Background: Stroke is the leading cause of disability in adults, producing a major personal and economic impact on those affected. The scientific evidence regarding the use of Motor Imagery (MI) as a preparatory process for motor control reinforces the need to explore this method as a complement to physical therapy.

Objectives: The objectives of this systematic review were to determine the effectiveness of MI for functional recovery after stroke and to identify a possible intervention protocol, according to the level of existing scientific evidence.

Methods: A comprehensive literature search was performed using Medline, Cochrane Library and PEDro databases. Studies were limited to those published between 2007 and 2017, and restricted to English and/or Spanish language publications.

Results: Thirteen randomized clinical trials that met the inclusion criteria were included. The methodological quality of studies was determined using the Critical Review Form for Quantitative Studies, obtaining scores of 9-13 points out of 15. The level of evidence and strength of recommendations were assessed using the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) assessment, obtaining levels IA and II-B1. Significant improvements were found in outcome measures evaluating upper limb functionality, balance and kinematic gait parameters.

Conclusions: The use of MI combined with conventional rehabilitation is an effective method for the recovery of functionality after stroke. Due to the great heterogeneity in the scientific literature available, new lines of research are necessary, in order to include well-designed studies of good methodological quality and to establish a consensus regarding the most appropriate protocols.


via Motor imagery as a complementary technique for functional recovery after stroke: a systematic review. – PubMed – NCBI

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[ARTICLE] Role of Practice And Mental Imagery on Hand Function Improvement in Stroke Survivors – Full Text


Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the Role of Practice and Mental Imagery on Hand function improvement in stroke survivors

Method: We conducted systematic review of the previous studies and searched electronic databases for the years 1995 to 2016, studies were selected according to inclusion criteria, and critical appraisal was done for each study and summarized the use of mental practice for the improvement in hand function in stroke survivors.

Results: Studies differed in the various aspects like intervention protocols, outcome measures, design, and patient’s characteristics. The total number of practice hours to see the potential benefits from mental practice varied widely. Results suggest that mental practice has potential to improve the upper extremity function in stroke survivors.

Conclusion: Although the benefits of mental practice to improve upper extremity function looks promising, general guidelines for the clinical use of mental practice is difficult to make. Future research should explore the dosage, factors affecting the use of Mental Practice, effects of Mental Therapy alone without in combination with other interventions.


Up to 85% stroke survivors experience hemi paresis resulting in impaired movement of the arm, and hand as reported by Nakayama et al. Loss of arm function adversely affects quality of life and functional motor recovery in affected upper extremity.

Sensorimotor deficits in the upper limb, such as weakness, decreased speed of movement, decreased angular excursion and impaired temporal coordination of the joints impaired upper-limb and trunk coordination.

Treatment interventions such as materials-based occupations constraint-induced movement therapy modified constraint-induced movement therapy and task-related or task-specific training are common training methods for remediating impairments and restoring function in the upper limb.

For the improvement of upper and lower functions, physical therapy provides training for functional improvement and fine motor. For most patients such rehabilitation training has many constraints of time, place and expense, accordingly in recent studies, clinical methods such as mental practice for improvement of the upper and lower functions have been suggested.

Mental practice is a training method during which a person cognitively rehearses a physical skill using motor imagery in the absence of overt, physical movements for the purpose of enhancing motor skill performance. For example, a review of the duration of mental movements found temporal equivalence for reaching; grasping; writing; and cyclical activities, such as walking and running.

Evidence for the idea that motor imagery training could enhance the recovery of hand function comes from several lines of research: the sports literature; neurophysiologic evidence; health psychology research; as well as preliminary findings using motor imagery techniques in stroke patients.

Much interest has been raised by the potential of Motor Practice of Motor task, also called “Motor Imagery” as a neuro rehabilitation technique to enhance Motor Recovery following Stroke.

Mental Practice is a training method during which a person cognitively rehearsals a physical skill using Motor Imagery in the absence of Physical movements for the purpose of enhancing Motor skill performance.

The merits of this intervention are that the patient concentration and motivation can be enhanced without regard to time and place and the training is possible without expensive equipment.

Researchers have speculated about its utility in neurorehabilitation. In fact, several review articles examining the impact of mental practice have been published. Two reviews examined stroke outcomes in general and did not limit their review to upper-extremity–focused outcomes. Both articles included studies that were published in 2005 or earlier.

Previous reviews, however, did not attempt to rate the studies reviewed in terms of the level of evidence. Thus, in this review, we determined whether mental practice is an effective intervention strategy to remediate impairments and improve upper-limb function after stroke by examining and rating the current evidence. […]

Continue –>  Role of Practice And Mental Imagery on Hand Function Improvement in Stroke Survivors | Insight Medical Publishing

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[REVIEW] Upper Extremity Interventions | EBRSR – Evidence-Based Review of Stroke Rehabilitation – Full Text PDF


Upper extremity complications are common following stroke and may be seriously debilitating. Regaining mobility in the upper extremities is often more difficult than in lower extremities, which can seriously impact the progress of rehabilitation. A large body of research exists around upper extremity complications but debate continues regarding the timing of treatment and adequate prognostic factors. This review provides current information regarding upper extremity interventions. Topics include robotic devices for movement therapy, virtual reality technology, spasticity treatment, EMG/biofeedback, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, functional electric stimulation, and hand edema treatment. Neurodevelopmental upper extremity therapy techniques are reviewed along with repetitive/task-specific training, sensorimotor interventions, hand splinting and constraint induced movement therapy.

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via Upper Extremity Interventions | EBRSR – Evidence-Based Review of Stroke Rehabilitation.

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[ARTICLE] Brain computer interfaces for neurorehabilitation – its current status as a rehabilitation strategy post-stroke


The idea of using brain computer interfaces (BCI) for rehabilitation emerged relatively recently. Basically, BCI for neurorehabilitation involves the recording and decoding of local brain signals generated by the patient, as he/her tries to perform a particular task (even if imperfect), or during a mental imagery task. The main objective is to promote the recruitment of selected brain areas involved and to facilitate neural plasticity.

The recorded signal can be used in several ways:

  1.  to objectify and strengthen motor imagery-based training, by providing the patient feedback on the imagined motor task, for example, in a virtual environment;
  2.  to generate a desired motor task via functional electrical stimulation or rehabilitative robotic orthoses attached to the patient’s limb – encouraging and optimizing task execution as well as “closing” the disrupted sensorimotor loop by giving the patient the appropriate sensory feedback;
  3.  to understand cerebral reorganizations after lesion, in order to influence or even quantify plasticity-induced changes in brain networks. For example, applying cerebral stimulation to re-equilibrate inter-hemispheric imbalance as shown by functional recording of brain activity during movement may help recovery.

Its potential usefulness for a patient population has been demonstrated on various levels and its diverseness in interface applications makes it adaptable to a large population. The position and status of these very new rehabilitation systems should now be considered with respect to our current and more or less validated traditional methods, as well as in the light of the wide range of possible brain damage. The heterogeneity in post-damage expression inevitably complicates the decoding of brain signals and thus their use in pathological conditions, asking for controlled clinical trials.


via Brain computer interfaces for neurorehabilitation – its current status as a rehabilitation strategy post-stroke.

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[ARTICLE] Emerging Treatments for Motor Rehabilitation After Stroke


Although numerous treatments are available to improve cerebral perfusion after acute stroke and prevent recurrent stroke, few rehabilitation treatments have been conclusively shown to improve neurologic recovery. The majority of stroke survivors with motor impairment do not recover to their functional baseline, and there remains a need for novel neurorehabilitation treatments to minimize long-term disability, maximize quality of life, and optimize psychosocial outcomes.

In recent years, several novel therapies have emerged to restore motor function after stroke, and additional investigational treatments have also shown promise. Here, we familiarize the neurohospitalist with emerging treatments for poststroke motor rehabilitation. The rehabilitation treatments covered in this review will include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor medications, constraint-induced movement therapy, noninvasive brain stimulation, mirror therapy, and motor imagery or mental practice.

via Emerging Treatments for Motor Rehabilitation After Stroke.

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