Sequencing bilateral and unilateral task-oriented training versus task oriented training alone to improve arm function in individuals with chronic stroke

Sandy McCombe Waller, Jill Whitall, Toye Jenkins, Laurence S. Magder, Daniel F. Hanley, Andrew Goldberg, Andreas R. Luft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Recovering useful hand function after stroke is a major scientific challenge for patients with limited motor recovery. We hypothesized that sequential training beginning with proximal bilateral followed by unilateral task oriented training is superior to time-matched unilateral training alone. Proximal bilateral training could optimally prepare the motor system to respond to the more challenging task-oriented training. Methods: Participants: Twenty-six participants with moderate severity hemiparesis Intervention: Participants received either 6-weeks of bilateral proximal training followed sequentially by 6-weeks unilateral task-oriented training (COMBO) or 12-weeks of unilateral task-oriented training alone (SAEBO). A subset of 8 COMB0 and 9 SAEBO participants underwent three functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans of hand and elbow movement every 6 weeks. Main Outcome Measures: Fugl-Meyer Upper extremity scale, Modified Wolf Motor Function Test, University of Maryland Arm Questionnaire for Stroke, Motor cortex activation (fMRI). Results: The COMBO group demonstrated significantly greater gains between baseline and 12-weeks over all outcome measures (p = .018 based on a MANOVA test) and specifically in the Modified Wolf Motor Function test (time). Both groups demonstrated within-group gains on the Fugl-Meyer Upper Extremity test (impairment) and University of Maryland Arm Questionnaire for Stroke (functional use). fMRI subset analyses showed motor cortex (primary and premotor) activation during hand movement was significantly increased by sequential combination training but not by task-oriented training alone. Conclusions: Sequentially combining a proximal bilateral before a unilateral task-oriented training may be an effective way to facilitate gains in arm and hand function in those with moderate to severe paresis post-stroke compared to unilateral task oriented training alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number236
JournalBMC neurology
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 14 2014

Keywords

  • Bilateral arm training
  • Sequential training
  • Stroke
  • Upper extremity
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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