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J Hand Ther. 2009 Apr-Jun;22(2):183-97; quiz 198. doi: 10.1016/j.jht.2008.12.003. Epub 2009 Mar 14.

Focal hand dystonia: effectiveness of a home program of fitness and learning-based sensorimotor and memory training.

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Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143-0736, USA.



This was a pre post test design.


Retraining the brain is one approach to remediate movement dysfunction resulting from task specific focal hand dystonia (FHD(TSP)).


Document change in task specific performance (TSP) for patients with FHD(TSP) after 8 weeks of comprehensive home training (fitness activities, task practice, learning based memory and sensorimotor training).


Thirteen subjects were admitted and evaluated at baseline, immediately and 6 months post treatment for task specific performance, functional independence, sensory discrimination, fine motor speed and strength. In Phase I, 10 subjects were randomly assigned to home training alone or supervised practice prior to initiating the home training. In phase II, 2 subjects crossed over and 3 new subjects were added (18 hands). The intent to treat model was followed. Outcomes were summarized by median, effect size, and proportion improving with nonparametric analysis for significance.


Immediately post-intervention, TSP, sensory discrimination, and fine motor speed improved 60-80% (p<0.00l respectively). Functional independence and strength improved by 50%. Eleven subjects (16 hands) were re-evaluated at 6 months; all but one subject reported a return to work. Task-specific performance was scored 84-90%. Supervised practice was associated with greater compliance and greater gains in performance.


Progressive task practice plus learning based memory and sensorimotor training can improve TSP in patients with FHD(TSP). Compliance with home training is enhanced when initiated with supervised practice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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