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Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2008 Jun;89(6):1199-204. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2007.09.058.

Effect of training on upper-extremity prosthetic performance and motor learning: a single-case study.

Author information

1
Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA. Alexander.w.dromerick@medstar.net

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To examine the impact of a new prosthesis on an experienced and highly motivated prosthetic limb user, to evaluate the effects of training and the ability of clinical measures to detect change, and to gain insight into the mechanisms by which improvement occurs.

DESIGN:

A single-case study.

SETTING:

An outpatient clinic.

PARTICIPANT:

A bilateral high-arm amputee (right shoulder disarticulation, left above elbow).

INTERVENTIONS:

Provision of new prosthesis and occupational therapy.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Action Research Arm Test, box and block test of manual dexterity, Jebsen-Taylor Hand Function Test, and speed and accuracy of reaching movements with and without visual guidance.

RESULTS:

In this experienced prosthesis user, provision of a new prosthesis led to an immediate worsening in functional limitation. With training, the subject recovered his baseline status and then exceeded it in both proximal and distal function. All study clinical measures detected change, but the change detected varied as much as 300-fold depending on the measure chosen. The clinical improvements were associated with modest improvements in the speed of reaching but not the accuracy of reaching under visual guidance. Improvements in reaching accuracy without visual guidance were seen after 10 trials, suggesting that some motor learning had occurred.

CONCLUSIONS:

Provision of a new prosthesis can cause functional decline even in an experienced user; this decline can be reversed with training. There is wide variability in sensitivity to change among functional limitation measures. Although some training-related improvements may have been due to increased speed and accuracy of reaching without visual guidance, skill in prosthesis use also plays a role.

PMID:
18503820
DOI:
10.1016/j.apmr.2007.09.058
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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