Международный журнал физической медицины и реабилитации

Международный журнал физической медицины и реабилитации
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ISSN: 2329-9096


A New Idea for Stroke Rehabilitation: Bilateral Transfer Analysis from Healthy Hand to the Paretic One with a Randomized and Controlled Trial

Carlo Domenico Ausenda, Giovanni Togni, Marco Biffi, Simona Morlacchi, Mariagrazia Corrias and Giovanna Cristoforetti

Background: Bilateral transfer of a motor skill is a phenomenon according to which, one hand can "teach" a skill to the other hand. In this research, controlled and randomized, we tested the ability of bilateral transfer (BT) to improve the coordination of the paretic hand in patients that suffered a stroke, with the aim of restricting the field for further research on the impact of BT in rehabilitation, we analyzed the differences in the expression of BT phenomenon among sexes and side of hemyparesis. Methods: 34 right-handed patients, at the end of the rehabilitation period, were randomly divided into two groups: test and control. They all had a stroke in a single hemisphere in the previous six months and they were selected by a physical examination, the time elapsed from the stroke and cognitive requirements. The experiment consisted in training the healthy hand of each patient from the test group to execute the nine hole peg test (NHPT) 10 times a day, for 3 consecutive days, and then test the paretic hand with the same test and with bimanual tasks. The control group was not trained but went through the same analysis. Results: In the test group we found that the execution speed of NHPT with the paretic hand, after training the healthy hand, was on average 22.6% faster than the value recorded at baseline. Meanwhile, no significant difference was found in the control group. The analysis showed a greater impact of BT among male patients, who were in average 31% faster than controls, and in non dominant paretic hands, that were 30% faster after training. Conclusions: BT was present in hemiparethic patients with moderate stroke after a short time span, it was more evident among male subjects, and from the dominant hand to the paretic non-dominant one.