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Top Stroke Rehabil. 2012 Jul-Aug;19(4):287-93. doi: 10.1310/tsr1904-287.

Modified constraint-induced movement therapy improved upper limb function in subacute poststroke patients: a small-scale clinical trial.

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  • 1Loewenstein Rehabilitation Hospital, Ra'anana, Israel Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.



Constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) has been advocated as a means of facilitating motor function in poststroke patients; however, the evidence for its efficacy is controversial.


To evaluate the effect of modified CIMT on improving paretic arm function in poststroke patients during a subacute rehabilitation period.


A single-blinded randomized controlled trial was conducted at the Loewenstein Rehabilitation Hospital, Israel. Twenty-eight subacute stroke patients with arm paresis after a first ischemic stroke in the middle cerebral artery area were randomized into a modified CIMT or control group by a 1:2 ratio. The modified CIMT group received 1-hour daily physical rehabilitation sessions for 2 weeks. The unaffected arm was restrained during the sessions. Subjects were encouraged to wear a restrictive mitten up to 4 hours a day. The control group received similar intensive regular rehabilitation. Three upper limb function tests, developed for this study, were used as outcome measures. The subjects were asked to perform the following tasks, with the affected hand for 30 seconds: (1) transfer pegs from a saucer to a pegboard; (2) grasp, carry, and release a hard rubber ball; and (3) "eating," using a spoon to remove the jelly from the plate, bring it towards the mouth, and then place it on another plate. The number of repetitions in each test was recorded as an outcome.


The modified CIMT group showed significantly higher changes in all 3 tests compared to the standard rehabilitation group.


Our study provides additional support for the use of modified CIMT during a subacute rehabilitation period of poststroke patients. CIMT may facilitate functional improvement of a plegic hand.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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