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IEEE Trans Neural Syst Rehabil Eng. 2012 Jan;20(1):48-57. doi: 10.1109/TNSRE.2011.2175008. Epub 2011 Dec 16.

Learning, not adaptation, characterizes stroke motor recovery: evidence from kinematic changes induced by robot-assisted therapy in trained and untrained task in the same workspace.

Author information

1
Mechanical Engineering Department, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA. lauradp@mit.edu

Abstract

Both the American Heart Association and the VA/DoD endorse upper-extremity robot-mediated rehabilitation therapy for stroke care. However, we do not know yet how to optimize therapy for a particular patient's needs. Here, we explore whether we must train patients for each functional task that they must perform during their activities of daily living or alternatively capacitate patients to perform a class of tasks and have therapists assist them later in translating the observed gains into activities of daily living. The former implies that motor adaptation is a better model for motor recovery. The latter implies that motor learning (which allows for generalization) is a better model for motor recovery. We quantified trained and untrained movements performed by 158 recovering stroke patients via 13 metrics, including movement smoothness and submovements. Improvements were observed both in trained and untrained movements suggesting that generalization occurred. Our findings suggest that, as motor recovery progresses, an internal representation of the task is rebuilt by the brain in a process that better resembles motor learning than motor adaptation. Our findings highlight possible improvements for therapeutic algorithms design, suggesting sparse-activity-set training should suffice over exhaustive sets of task specific training.

PMID:
22186963
PMCID:
PMC4687974
DOI:
10.1109/TNSRE.2011.2175008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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