Posts Tagged Task-Specific Training

[Abstract] Does Task-Specific Training Improve Upper Limb Performance in Daily Life Poststroke?

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Background. A common assumption is that changes in upper limb (UL) capacity, or what an individual is capable of doing, translates to improved UL performance in daily life, or what an individual actually does. This assumption should be explicitly tested for individuals with UL paresis poststroke.

Objective. To examine changes in UL performance after an intensive, individualized, progressive, task-specific UL intervention for individuals at least 6 months poststroke.

Methods. Secondary analysis on 78 individuals with UL paresis who participated in a phase II, single-blind, randomized parallel dose-response trial. Participants were enrolled in a task-specific intervention for 8 weeks. Participants were randomized into 1 of 4 treatment groups with each group completing different amounts of UL movement practice. UL performance was assessed with bilateral, wrist-worn accelerometers once a week for 24 hours throughout the duration of the study. The 6 accelerometer variables were tested for change and the influence of potential modifiers using hierarchical linear modeling.

Results. No changes in UL performance were found on any of the 6 accelerometer variables used to quantify UL performance. Neither changes in UL capacity nor the overall amount of movement practice influenced changes in UL performance. Stroke chronicity, baseline UL capacity, concordance, and ADL status significantly increased the baseline starting points but did not influence the rate of change (slopes) for participants.

Conclusions. Improved motor capacity resulting from an intensive outpatient UL intervention does not appear to translate to increased UL performance outside the clinic.

Source: Does Task-Specific Training Improve Upper Limb Performance in Daily Life Poststroke? – Mar 01, 2017

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[ARTICLE] Task-specific ankle robotics gait training after stroke: a randomized pilot study – Full Text



An unsettled question in the use of robotics for post-stroke gait rehabilitation is whether task-specific locomotor training is more effective than targeting individual joint impairments to improve walking function. The paretic ankle is implicated in gait instability and fall risk, but is difficult to therapeutically isolate and refractory to recovery. We hypothesize that in chronic stroke, treadmill-integrated ankle robotics training is more effective to improve gait function than robotics focused on paretic ankle impairments.


Participants with chronic hemiparetic gait were randomized to either six weeks of treadmill-integrated ankle robotics (n = 14) or dose-matched seated ankle robotics (n = 12) videogame training. Selected gait measures were collected at baseline, post-training, and six-week retention. Friedman, and Wilcoxon Sign Rank and Fisher’s exact tests evaluated within and between group differences across time, respectively. Six weeks post-training, treadmill robotics proved more effective than seated robotics to increase walking velocity, paretic single support, paretic push-off impulse, and active dorsiflexion range of motion. Treadmill robotics durably improved gait dorsiflexion swing angle leading 6/7 initially requiring ankle braces to self-discarded them, while their unassisted paretic heel-first contacts increased from 44 % to 99.6 %, versus no change in assistive device usage (0/9) following seated robotics.


Treadmill-integrated, but not seated ankle robotics training, durably improves gait biomechanics, reversing foot drop, restoring walking propulsion, and establishing safer foot landing in chronic stroke that may reduce reliance on assistive devices. These findings support a task-specific approach integrating adaptive ankle robotics with locomotor training to optimize mobility recovery.

Continue —-> Task-specific ankle robotics gait training after stroke: a randomized pilot study | Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation | Full Text


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[ARTICLE] Task-specific reach-to-grasp training after stroke: Development and description of a home-based intervention – UWE Research Repository


Objective: To describe and justify the development of a home-based, task-specific upper limb training intervention to improve reach-to-grasp after stroke and pilot it for feasibility and acceptability prior to a randomised controlled trial.

Intervention description: The intervention is based on intensive practice of whole reach-to-grasp tasks and part-practice of essential reach-to-grasp components. A ‘pilot’ manual of activities covering the domains of self-care, leisure and productivity was developed for the feasibility study. The intervention comprises 14 hours of therapist-delivered sessions over 6 weeks, with additional self-practice recommended for 42 hours (i.e. 1 hour every day). As part of a feasibility randomised controlled trial, 24 people with a wide range of upper limb impairment after stroke experienced the intervention to test adherence and acceptability. The median number of repetitions in 1-hour therapist-delivered sessions was 157 (IQR: 96-211). The amount of self-practice was poorly documented. Where recorded, median amount of practice was 30 minutes (IQR: 22-45) per day. Findings demonstrated that the majority of participants found the intensity, content and level of difficulty of the intervention acceptable, and the programme to be beneficial. Comments on the content and presentation of the self-practice material were incorporated in a revised ‘final’ intervention manual.

Discussion: A comprehensive training intervention to improve reach-to-grasp for people living at home after stroke has been described in accordance with the TIDieR reporting guidelines. The intervention has been piloted, found to be acceptable and feasible in the home setting.

Source: Task-specific reach-to-grasp training after stroke: Development and description of a home-based intervention – UWE Research Repository

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[ARTICLE] Efficacy and Feasibility of Functional Upper Extremity Task-Specific Training for Older Adults With and Without Cognitive Impairment


Background. Although functional task-specific training is a viable approach for upper extremity neurorehabilitation, its appropriateness for older populations is unclear. If task-specific training is to be prescribed to older adults, it must be efficacious and feasible, even in patients with cognitive decline due to advancing age.

Objective. This cross-sectional study tested the efficacy and feasibility of upper extremity task-specific training in older adults, including those with lower cognitive scores.

Methods. Fifty older adults (age 65-89 years) without any confounding neuromuscular impairment were randomly assigned to a training group or no-training group. The training group completed 3 days (dosage = 2250 repetitions) of a functional upper extremity motor task (simulated feeding) with their nondominant hand; the no-training group completed no form of training at all. Both groups’ task performance (measured as trial time) was tested at pre- and posttest, and the training group was retested 1 month later. Efficacy was determined by rate, amount, and retention of training-related improvement, and compared across levels of cognitive status. Feasibility was determined by participants’ tolerance of the prescribed training dose.

Results. The training group was able to complete the training dose without adverse responses and showed a significant rate, amount, and retention of improvement compared with the no-training group. Cognitive status did not alter results, although participants with lower scores on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment were slower overall.

Conclusions. Task-specific training may be appropriate for improving upper extremity function in older adults, yet future work in older patients with specific neurological conditions is needed.

via Efficacy and Feasibility of Functional Upper Extremity Task-Specific Training for Older Adults With and Without Cognitive Impairment.

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[Abstract] Task-Based Mirror Therapy Augmenting Motor Recovery in Poststroke Hemiparesis: A Randomized Controlled Trial


To establish the effect of the task-based mirror therapy (TBMT) on the upper limb recovery in stroke.


A pilot, randomized, controlled, assessor-blinded trial was conducted in a rehabilitation institute. A convenience sample of 33 poststroke (mean duration, 12.5 months) hemiparetic subjects was randomized into 2 groups (experimental, 17; control, 16). The subjects were allocated to receive either TBMT or standard motor rehabilitation—40 sessions (5/week) for a period of 8 weeks. The TBMT group received movements using various goal-directed tasks and a mirror box. The movements were performed by the less-affected side superimposed on the affected side. The main outcome measures were Brunnstrom recovery stage (BRS) and Fugl-Meyer assessment (FMA)—FMA of upper extremity (FMA-UE), including upper arm (FMA-UA) and wrist–hand (FMA-WH).


The TBMT group exhibited highly significant improvement on mean scores of FMA-WH (P < .001) and FMA-UE (P < .001) at postassessment in comparison to the control group. Furthermore, there was a 12% increase in the number of subjects at BRS stage 5 (out of synergy movement) in the experimental group as compared to a 0% rise at the same stage in the control group.


This pilot trial confirmed the role of TBMT in improving the wrist–hand motor recovery in poststroke hemiparesis. MT using tasks may be used as an adjunct in stroke rehabilitation.

via Task-Based Mirror Therapy Augmenting Motor Recovery in Poststroke Hemiparesis: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

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[REVIEW] What Is the Evidence for Physical Therapy Poststroke? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis – Full Text PDF


Background: Physical therapy (PT) is one of the key disciplines in interdisciplinary stroke rehabilitation. The aim of this systematic review was to provide an update of the evidence for stroke rehabilitation interventions in the domain of PT.

Methods and Findings: Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) regarding PT in stroke rehabilitation were retrieved through a systematic search. Outcomes were classified according to the ICF. RCTs with a low risk of bias were quantitatively analyzed. Differences between phases poststroke were explored in subgroup analyses. A best evidence synthesis was performed for neurological treatment approaches. The search yielded 467 RCTs (N = 25373; median PEDro score 6 [IQR 5–7]), identifying 53 interventions. No adverse events were reported. Strong evidence was found for significant positive effects of 13 interventions related to gait, 11 interventions related to arm-hand activities, 1 intervention for ADL, and 3 interventions for physical fitness. Summary Effect Sizes (SESs) ranged from 0.17 (95%CI 0.03–0.70; I2 = 0%) for therapeutic positioning of the paretic arm to 2.47 (95%CI 0.84–4.11; I2 = 77%) for training of sitting balance. There is strong evidence that a higher dose of practice is better, with SESs ranging from 0.21 (95%CI 0.02–0.39; I2 = 6%) for motor function of the paretic arm to 0.61 (95%CI 0.41–0.82; I2 = 41%) for muscle strength of the paretic leg. Subgroup analyses yielded significant differences with respect to timing poststroke for 10 interventions. Neurological treatment approaches to training of body functions and activities showed equal or unfavorable effects when compared to other training interventions. Main limitations of the present review are not using individual patient data for meta-analyses and absence of correction for multiple testing.

Conclusions: There is strong evidence for PT interventions favoring intensive high repetitive task-oriented and task-specific training in all phases poststroke. Effects are mostly restricted to the actually trained functions and activities. Suggestions for prioritizing PT stroke research are given.

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[ARTICLE] Feasibility of High-Repetition, Task-Specific Training for Individuals With Upper-Extremity Paresis – Full Text HTML


OBJECTIVE. We investigated the feasibility of delivering an individualized, progressive, high-repetition upper-extremity (UE) task-specific training protocol for people with stroke in the inpatient rehabilitation setting.

METHOD. Fifteen patients with UE paresis participated in this study. Task-specific UE training was scheduled for 60 min/day, 4 days/wk, during occupational therapy for the duration of a participant’s inpatient stay. During each session, participants were challenged to complete ≥300 repetitions of various tasks.

RESULTS. Participants averaged 289 repetitions/session, spending 47 of 60 min in active training. Participants improved on impairment and activity level outcome measures.

CONCLUSION. People with stroke in an inpatient setting can achieve hundreds of repetitions of task-specific training in 1-hr sessions. As expected, all participants improved on functional outcome measures. Future studies are needed to determine whether this high-repetition training program results in better outcomes than current UE interventions.

Full Text HTML–>  Feasibility of High-Repetition, Task-Specific Training for Individuals With Upper-Extremity Paresis.

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[REVIEW] Rehabilitation with Poststroke Motor Recovery: A Review with a Focus on Neural Plasticity – Full Text

…Motor recovery after stroke is related to neural plasticity, which involves developing new neuronal interconnections, acquiring new functions, and compensating for impairment. However, neural plasticity is impaired in the stroke-affected hemisphere. Therefore, it is important that motor recovery therapies facilitate neural plasticity to compensate for functional loss. Stroke rehabilitation programs should include meaningful, repetitive, intensive, and task-specific movement training in an enriched environment to promote neural plasticity and motor recovery. Various novel stroke rehabilitation techniques for motor recovery have been developed based on basic science and clinical studies of neural plasticity. However, the effectiveness of rehabilitative interventions among patients with stroke varies widely because the mechanisms underlying motor recovery are heterogeneous. Neurophysiological and neuroimaging studies have been developed to evaluate the heterogeneity of mechanisms underlying motor recovery for effective rehabilitation interventions after stroke. Here, we review novel stroke rehabilitation techniques associated with neural plasticity and discuss individualized strategies to identify appropriate therapeutic goals, prevent maladaptive plasticity, and maximize functional gain in patients with stroke…

via Rehabilitation with Poststroke Motor Recovery: A Review with a Focus on Neural Plasticity.

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