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A Paradigm Shift: Rehabilitation Robotics, Cognitive Skills Training, and Function After Stroke.


ABSTRACT: Introduction: Robot-assisted therapy for upper extremity (UE) impairments post-stroke has yielded modest gains in motor capacity and little evidence of improved UE performance during activities of daily living. A paradigm shift that embodies principles of motor learning and exercise dependent neuroplasticity may improve robot therapy outcomes by incorporating active problem solving, salience of trained tasks, and strategies to facilitate the transfer of acquired motor skills to use of the paretic arm and hand during everyday activities. Objective: To pilot and test the feasibility of a novel therapy protocol, the Active Learning Program for Stroke (ALPS), designed to complement repetitive, robot-assisted therapy for the paretic UE. Key ALPS ingredients included training in the use of cognitive strategies (e.g., STOP, THINK, DO, CHECK) and a goal-directed home action plan (HAP) to facilitate UE self-management and skill transfer. Methods: Ten participants with moderate impairments in UE function >6 months after stroke received eighteen 1-h treatment sessions 2-3/x week over 6-8 weeks. In addition to ALPS training, individuals were randomly assigned to either robot-assisted therapy (RT) or robot therapy and task-oriented training (RT-TOT) to trial whether the inclusion of TOT reinforced participants' understanding and implementation of ALPS strategies. Results: Statistically significant group differences were found for the upper limb subtest of the Fugl-Meyer Assessment (FMA-UE) at discharge and one-month follow-up favoring the RT group. Analyses to examine overall effects of the ALPS protocol in addition to RT and RT-TOT showed significant and moderate to large effects on the FMA-UE, Motor Activity Log, Wolf Motor Function Test, and hand portion of the Stroke Impact Scale. Conclusion: The ALPS protocol was the first to extend cognitive strategy training to robot-assisted therapy. The intervention in this development of concept pilot trial was feasible and well-tolerated, with good potential to optimize paretic UE performance following robot-assisted therapy.

SUBMITTER: Fasoli SE 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6804158 | BioStudies | 2019-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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