ENHANCE proof-of-concept three-arm randomized trial: effects of reaching training of the hemiparetic upper limb restricted to the spasticity-free elbow range

Mindy F. Levin, Sigal Berman, Neta Weiss, Yisrael Parmet, Melanie C. Baniña, Silvi Frenkel-Toledo, Nachum Soroker, John M. Solomon, Dario G. Liebermann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Post-stroke motor recovery processes remain unknown. Timescales and patterns of upper-limb (UL) recovery suggest a major impact of biological factors, with modest contributions from rehabilitation. We assessed a novel impairment-based training motivated by motor control theory where reaching occurs within the spasticity-free elbow range. Patients with subacute stroke (≤ 6 month; n = 46) and elbow flexor spasticity were randomly allocated to a 10-day UL training protocol, either personalized by restricting reaching to the spasticity-free elbow range defined by the tonic stretch reflex threshold (TSRT) or non-personalized (non-restricted) and with/without anodal transcranial direct current stimulation. Outcomes assessed before, after, and 1 month post-intervention were elbow flexor TSRT angle and reach-to-grasp arm kinematics (primary) and stretch reflex velocity sensitivity, clinical impairment, and activity (secondary). Results were analyzed for 3 groups as well as those of the effects of impairment-based training. Clinical measures improved in both groups. Spasticity-free range training resulted in faster and smoother reaches, smaller (i.e., better) arm-plane path length, and closer-to-normal shoulder/elbow movement patterns. Non-personalized training improved clinical scores without improving arm kinematics, suggesting that clinical measures do not account for movement quality. Impairment-based training within a spasticity-free elbow range is promising since it may improve clinical scores together with arm movement quality. Clinical Trial Registration: URL: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov . Unique Identifier: NCT02725853; Initial registration date: 01/04/2016.

Original languageEnglish
Article number22934
JournalScientific Reports
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2023

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