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Stroke. 1996 Sep;27(9):1564-70.

Performance of the 'unaffected' upper extremity of elderly stroke patients.

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Centre de recherche en gérontologic et gériatrie, Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada.



The main objective of this study was to compare the sensorimotor performance of the unaffected upper extremity (UE) of elderly stroke patients with that of healthy elderly people.


The group of stroke patients was composed of 43 hemiplegic/paretic subjects who had had a cerebrovascular accident at least 6 months earlier. They were > or = 60 years old, were right-handed before the stroke, had visual perception within normal limits, and showed no major cognitive impairments. A group of 43 healthy subjects matched for dominance, age, and sex was used for comparison. The main parameters of the performance of the unaffected UE of the stroke subjects and of the same side of the healthy subjects were measured with valid, reliable instruments. Some variables potentially related to the unaffected UE were also measured: affected UE motor function, functional independence, length of time since the stroke, self-perceived health status, activity level, and hand anthropometry.


Statistical analyses showed significant deficits in the unaffected UE of hemiplegic/paretic subjects compared with normal subjects with regard to the following parameters: gross manual dexterity, fine manual dexterity, motor coordination, global performance, and kinesthesia (P < .01 to P < .0001). No significant clinical or statistical difference was found for grip strength (P < .81), static and moving two-point discrimination (P = .21 and P = .12), or touch/pressure threshold (P < .91).


Many factors (frequency of use of the unaffected hand, sensorimotor interaction tasks, severity of the deficits in corticifugal projections, and deficits in postural stabilization) could interact to provide the clinical picture obtained in the present study.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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