Author(s): HarrisLove ML, McCombe Waller S, Whitall J
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To determine whether paretic arm reaching performance is improved in bilateral compared with unilateral conditions. DESIGN: Cohort study. SETTING: University human performance laboratory. PARTICIPANTS: Thirty-two subjects with chronic stroke (57+/-14y; on Fugl-Meyer Assessment arm score, 37+/-14). INTERVENTION: Unilateral and bilateral reaching. Bilateral tasks included varying levels of weight on the nonparetic hand. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: An electromagnetic tracking system recorded hand peak acceleration, velocity, and movement time. A 2-way repeated-measures analysis of variance and Tukey-adjusted pairwise comparisons were used to analyze the results (alpha=.05). RESULTS: Paretic differed significantly from nonparetic peak acceleration and velocity in unilateral reaching but not bilateral reaching. Within limbs, the paretic arm attained a higher peak acceleration (P<.001) and velocity (P=.03) in the bilateral compared with the unilateral task, but movement time was unchanged between tasks. Nonparetic peak acceleration was higher (P=.015), velocity was unchanged, and movement time increased (P=.005) in the bilateral compared with the unilateral task. The addition of a weight to the nonparetic arm during bilateral reaching did not result in further improvement in paretic arm performance. CONCLUSIONS: Interlimb coupling effects during bilateral reaching are retained even after chronic stroke and can be used to produce an immediate improvement in paretic arm reaching performance.
This article was published in Arch Phys Med Rehabil
and referenced in International Journal of Neurorehabilitation