Sixty hours of rehabilitation over 16 months provided by various bilateral arm movements and coupled active stimulation improved motor capabilities in patients with chronic stroke, say authors of an article published online in Clinical Rehabilitation.
This randomized controlled study, conducted in the Motor Behavior Laboratory at the University of Florida, included 18 participants who experienced a stroke more than 9 months prior to enrolling. Treatment interventions were bilateral arm movements coupled with active neuromuscular stimulation on the impaired arm for 2 duration groups. The short-term group received 1 treatment protocol. The long-term group completed 10 treatment protocols over 16 months. All protocol sessions were 6 hours long (90 minutes 1 day/week/4 weeks) and were separated by 22 days. Repeated data collection on 3 primary outcome measures (Box and Block test, fractionated reaction times, and sustained force production) evaluated motor capabilities across rehabilitation times.
The results revealed improved motor capabilities for the long-term duration group on each primary measure. At the 16-month delayed retention test, when compared to the short-term group, the long-term group demonstrated more blocks moved (43 v 32), faster premotor reaction times (158 v 208 ms), and higher force production (75 v 45 N).
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