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Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2004 Feb;85(2):274-8.

Reliance on visual information after stroke. Part II: Effectiveness of a balance rehabilitation program with visual cue deprivation after stroke: a randomized controlled trial.

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Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, GH Lariboissiere-F. Widal, Paris, France.



To test the hypothesis that balance rehabilitation with visual cue deprivation improves balance more effectively than rehabilitation with free vision.


Single-blind, randomized controlled trial.


Public rehabilitation center in France.


Twenty patients with hemiplegia after a single-hemisphere stroke that occurred at least 12 months before the study.


Patients were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 balance rehabilitation programs-with and without visual cue deprivation. In all other respects, the programs were identical. Each lasted for 1 hour and was implemented 5 days a week for 4 weeks. All patients completed the program. Mean outcome measures Balance under 6 sensory conditions was assessed by computerized dynamic posturography (EquiTest), gait velocity, timed stair climbing, and self-assessment of ease of gait before and after program completion.


After completing the program, balance, gait velocity, and self-assessment of gait improved significantly in all patients. The improvements in gait velocity (P= .03) and timed stair climbing (P= .01) correlated significantly with improved balance. Balance improved more in the vision-deprived group than in the free-vision group.


Balance improved more after rehabilitation with visual deprivation than with free vision. Visual overuse may be a compensatory strategy for coping with initial imbalance exacerbated by traditional rehabilitation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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