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Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2005 Mar;19(1):33-45.

Massed practice versus massed practice with stimulation: effects on upper extremity function and cortical plasticity in individuals with incomplete cervical spinal cord injury.

Author information

1
The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, FL 33136, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the effect of massed practice (MP) versus massed practice combined with somatosensory stimulation (MP+SS) on cortical plasticity and function in persons with incomplete tetraplegia.

METHODS:

Ten subjects were assigned to either MP or MP+SS. Median nerve stimulation (500 ms train, 10 Hz, 1 ms pulse duration) was delivered at the intensity eliciting a motor threshold response. Training sessions were 5 d/week for 3 weeks at 2 h/session. Outcome measures included 1) motor-evoked potentials (MEPs) elicited via transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), motor threshold (MT) and MEP amplitude at 1.2 MT; 2) maximal pinch grip force; 3) Wolf Motor Function Test (WMFT) and Jebsen Hand Function Test.

RESULTS:

The MP+SS group demonstrated significant improvements (P < 0.05) in pinch grip strength (190%), WMFT scores (52%), and Jebsen test scores (33%), whereas the MP group demonstrated significant improvement (P < 0.05) only in Jebsen test scores (11%). No significant changes were detected in cortical excitability in the MP+SS or MP group.

CONCLUSIONS:

The findings of this preliminary study suggest that MP+SS results in greater increases in pinch strength and timed functional test scores than MP. Optimal stimulation paradigms and training methods are needed to further test this strategy.

PMID:
15673842
DOI:
10.1177/1545968305274517
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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