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J Neuroeng Rehabil. 2017 Oct 16;14(1):107. doi: 10.1186/s12984-017-0316-0.

Effects of continuous visual feedback during sitting balance training in chronic stroke survivors.

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Department Informatics, Bioengineering, Robotics and Systems Engineering, University of Genoa, Via Opera Pia, 16145, Genoa, Italy.
Department Informatics, Bioengineering, Robotics and Systems Engineering, University of Genoa, Via Opera Pia, 16145, Genoa, Italy.
Department of Neuroscience, Rehabilitation, Ophthalmology, Genetics, Maternal and Child Health (DINOGMI), University of Genoa, L.go Daneo, Genoa, 16132, Italy.
Department of Neuroscience, Ospedale Policlinico San Martino, L.go R. Benzi, Genoa, 16132, Italy.



Postural control deficits are common in stroke survivors and often the rehabilitation programs include balance training based on visual feedback to improve the control of body position or of the voluntary shift of body weight in space. In the present work, a group of chronic stroke survivors, while sitting on a force plate, exercised the ability to control their Center of Pressure with a training based on continuous visual feedback. The goal of this study was to test if and to what extent chronic stroke survivors were able to learn the task and transfer the learned ability to a condition without visual feedback and to directions and displacement amplitudes different from those experienced during training.


Eleven chronic stroke survivors (5 Male - 6 Female, age: 59.72 ± 12.84 years) participated in this study. Subjects were seated on a stool positioned on top of a custom-built force platform. Their Center of Pressure positions were mapped to the coordinate of a cursor on a computer monitor. During training, the cursor position was always displayed and the subjects were to reach targets by shifting their Center of Pressure by moving their trunk. Pre and post-training subjects were required to reach without visual feedback of the cursor the training targets as well as other targets positioned in different directions and displacement amplitudes.


During training, most stroke survivors were able to perform the required task and to improve their performance in terms of duration, smoothness, and movement extent, although not in terms of movement direction. However, when we removed the visual feedback, most of them had no improvement with respect to their pre-training performance.


This study suggests that postural training based exclusively on continuous visual feedback can provide limited benefits for stroke survivors, if administered alone. However, the positive gains observed during training justify the integration of this technology-based protocol in a well-structured and personalized physiotherapy training, where the combination of the two approaches may lead to functional recovery.


Center of pressure; Motor learning; Posture; Stroke survivors; Trunk control; Visual feedback

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