Posts Tagged recovery of function
[ARTICLE] Electrical somatosensory stimulation followed by motor training of the paretic upper limb in acute stroke: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial | Trials – Full Text
Upper limb paresis is one of the most frequent and persistent impairments following stroke. Only 12–34% of stroke patients achieve full recovery of upper limb functioning, which seems to be required to habitually use the affected arm in daily tasks. Although the recovery of upper limb functioning is most pronounced during the first 4 weeks post stroke, there are few studies investigating the effect of rehabilitation during this critical time window. The purpose of this trial is to determine the effect of electrical somatosensory stimulation (ESS) initiated in the acute stroke phase on the recovery of upper limb functioning in a nonselected sample of stroke patients.
A sample of 102 patients with upper limb paresis of varying degrees of severity is assigned to either the intervention or the control group using stratified random sampling. The intervention group receives ESS plus usual rehabilitation and the control group receives sham ESS plus usual rehabilitation. The intervention is applied as 1 h of ESS/sham ESS daily, followed by motor training of the affected upper limb. The ESS/sham ESS treatment is initiated within 7 days from stroke onset and it is delivered during hospitalization, but no longer than 4 weeks post stroke. The primary outcome is hand dexterity assessed by the Box and Block Test; secondary outcomes are the Fugl-Meyer Assessment, hand grip strength, pinch strength, perceptual threshold of touch, degree of pain, and modified Rankin Scale score. Outcome measurements are conducted at baseline, post intervention and at 6-month follow-up.
Because of the wide inclusion criteria, we believe that the results can be generalized to the larger population of patients with a first-ever stroke who present with an upper limb paresis of varying severity. On the other hand, the sample size (n = 102) may preclude subgroup analyses in such a heterogeneous sample. The sham ESS treatment totals a mere 2% of the active ESS treatment delivered to the intervention group per ESS session, and we consider that this dose is too small to induce a treatment effect.
Stroke is ranked as the third largest cause of disease burden globally , causing substantial physical, psychological and financial demands on patients, families, and societies at large [2, 3, 4]. Upper limb paresis is one of the most frequent impairments following stroke and affects 48–77% of patients in the acute stroke phase [5, 6, 7]. Moreover, upper limb paresis has been identified as a major obstacle to regaining independence in activities of daily living (ADLs) . In fact, only 12–34% of the patients achieve full functional recovery of the affected upper limb at 6 months post stroke [9, 10]. This represents a considerable challenge since near complete functional recovery is required to routinely involve the affected upper limb in performing ADLs .
Recovery of upper limb functioning is typically pronounced during the first month and subsequently levels off by 6 months post stroke [12, 13, 14]. Regaining hand dexterity (i.e., motor skills such as reaching, grasping, gripping, moving and releasing objects) is often achieved already within the first 4 weeks, implying that there may be a critical time window for recovery of upper limb functioning [9, 10] during which rehabilitation efforts may maximize functional recovery. However, there are few studies investigating the effect of motor rehabilitation methods in the initial weeks after stroke.
Electrical stimulation (ES) is one of the methods that have been used to facilitate recovery of upper limb functioning following stroke. ES can induce a muscle contraction, or it can be a somatosensory stimulation below the motor threshold . The majority of studies using ES have been conducted in chronic stroke and, therefore, it remains unknown to what extent ES applied in the acute phase after stroke could affect the recovery of upper limb functioning. Also, these investigations have largely focused on ES that induces muscle contraction. In healthy persons, the application of low-intensity ES with no or small motor responses to peripheral hand nerves [16, 17, 18, 19, 20], forearm muscles  or the whole hand [22, 23] elicits an increase in the cortical excitability of the representations that control the stimulated body parts, which seems to outlast the stimulation period itself [18, 21, 23]. It has been hypothesized that increasing the amount of somatosensory input may enhance the motor recovery of patients following stroke . Recent data on acute, subacute and mostly chronic stroke patients suggest that a single 2-h session of ESS to the peripheral hand nerves leads to transient improvement of pinch force, movement kinematics and upper limb motor skills required for ADL performance [25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31]. However, ESS was only used in conjunction with motor training in one of these studies . Interestingly, there is some evidence that multiple sessions of ESS to the peripheral hand nerves, in conjunction with motor training, might improve motor skills of the paretic upper limb in subacute [32, 33] and chronic stroke patients , and, moreover, that these positive results seems to be long lasting . However, the effect of ESS in conjunction with motor training has never been investigated in acute stroke patients. It is noteworthy that ESS is benign in nature, causes patients minimal discomfort and adverse effects (itch and blushing), is relatively inexpensive and can easily be incorporated into clinical practice . Therefore, it would be valuable to establish the effect of multiple sessions of ESS in conjunction with motor training in the restoration of upper limb functioning in the acute stroke phase.
Does ESS treatment: (a) reduce motor and sensory impairments, (b) improve hand dexterity and (c) reduce disability at the end of the intervention period (short-term effect)?
Are the changes that can be observed at the end of the intervention period still present or improved at 6 months post stroke (long-term effect)?
Our hypothesis is that ESS treatment initiated in the acute stroke phase will improve paretic upper limb functioning as measured by the Box and Block Test (BBT) (primary outcome measure) at 6 months post stroke.
[ARTICLE] Factors Associated With Upper Extremity Functional Recovery Following Low-Frequency Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in Stroke Patients – Full Text HTML
Objective: To investigate the factors related to upper extremity functional improvement following inhibitory repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) in stroke patients.
Methods: Forty-one stroke patients received low-frequency rTMS over the contralesional hemisphere according to a standard protocol, in addition to conventional physical and occupational therapy. The rTMS-treated patients were divided into two groups according to their responsiveness to rTMS measured by the self-care score of the Korean version of Modified Barthel Index (K-MBI): responded group (n=19) and non-responded group (n=22). Forty-one age-matched stroke patients who had not received rTMS served as controls. Neurological, cognitive and functional assessments were performed before rTMS and 4 weeks after rTMS treatment.
Results: Among the rTMS-treated patients, the responded group was significantly younger than the non-responded group (51.6±10.5 years and 65.5±13.7 years, respectively; p=0.001). Four weeks after rTMS, the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale, the Brunnstrom recovery stage and upper extremity muscle power scores were significantly more improved in the responded group than in the control group. Besides the self-care score, the mobility score of the K-MBI was also more improved in the responded group than in the non-responded group or controls.
Conclusion: Age is the most obvious factor determining upper extremity functional responsiveness to low-frequency rTMS in stroke patients.
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Traumatic brain injury (TBI) results in a variety of impairments in cognition, mood, sensation, and movement, depending upon the location and severity of injury. Although not as extensively studied as cognitive impairments, motor impairments are common, especially in moderately to severely injured patients. The recovery of these deficits is not usually complete; however, extensive effort is put into the rehabilitation of motor skills to enhance independence and quality of life. Understanding the motor recovery process and how it can be influenced by rehabilitation has been extensively studied in animal models of stroke and focal lesions, albeit to a lesser extent following animal models of TBI. Injury-induced neural plasticity is intricately involved in motor recovery and influenced by behavioral compensation and rehabilitation following stroke and focal lesions. New studies in animal models of TBI indicate that neural plasticity and the processes of motor recovery and rehabilitation following brain injury may not mirror those processes shown to occur following stroke. Further examination of motor recovery, rehabilitation, and plasticity in animal models of TBI as well as in individuals with TBI will be necessary to fully understand the control of movement following brain injury. © 2013 American Physiological Society. Compr Physiol 3:121-139, 2013.
…Task-oriented therapy is important. It makes intuitive sense that the best way to relearn a given task is to train specifically for that task. In animals, functional reorganization is greater for tasks that are meaningful to the animal. Repetition alone, without usefulness or meaning in terms of function, is not enough to produce increased motor cortical representations. In humans, less intense but task-specific training regimens with the more affected limb can produce cortical reorganization and associated, meaningful functional improvements…
via Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation – online access – Volume 12 – Number 3/Summer 2005 – Animal and Clinical Research in Stroke Recovery and Rehabilitation – The Role of Task-Specific Training in Rehabilitation Therapies.
Background. Although most mirror therapy studies have shown improved motor performance in stroke patients, the optimal mirror training protocol still remains unclear. Objective. To study the relative contribution of a mirror in training a reaching task and of unilateral and bimanual training with a mirror. Methods. A total of 93 stroke patients at least 6 months poststroke were instructed to perform a reaching task as fast and as fluently as possible. They performed 70 practice trials after being randomly allocated to 1 of 5 experimental groups: training with (1) the paretic arm with direct view (Paretic-No Mirror), (2) the nonparetic arm with direct view (Nonparetic-No Mirror), (3) the nonparetic arm with mirror reflection (Nonparetic Mirror), (4) both sides and with a nontransparent screen preventing visual control of paretic side (Bilateral-Screen), and (5) both sides with mirror reflection of the nonparetic arm (Bilateral-Mirror). As baseline and follow-up, patients performed 6 trials using only their paretic side. Primary outcome measure was the movement time. Results. We found the largest intervention effect in the Paretic-No Mirror condition. However, the Nonparetic-Mirror condition was not significantly different from the Paretic-No Mirror condition, while the Unaffected-No Mirror condition had significantly less improvement than the Paretic-No Mirror condition. In addition, movement time improved significantly less in the bimanual conditions and there was no difference between both bimanual conditions or between both mirror conditions. Conclusion. The present study confirms that using a mirror reflection can facilitate motor learning. In this task, bimanual movement using mirror training was less effective than unilateral training.
…The present study confirms that using a mirror reflection can facilitate motor learning. In this task, bimanual movement using mirror training was less effective than unilateral training…