Reach to grasp is the most common arm activity we do in everyday life, so it important to find treatments to allow people to re-learn this ability after stroke.
Task- specific training involves the practice of either whole or part movements, which are as much like the actual movement as possible. For example, one movement needed to grasp an object is to move the shoulder forward. This can be practiced by sitting and sliding the arm across the table towards an object. Studies have shown that activation of muscles and of neurons in the brain depends on the task being performed so there is a good scientific basis for task-specific training. However, there is currently not enough evidence to know whether task specific training is an effective treatment for the arm after stroke.
In this study, the researchers will design a treatment manual that describes the principles of task-specific training and gives therapists examples of task-specific tasks. The manual will include ideas for practice of the whole movement, and for parts of reach-to-grasp such as opening the thumb. This will be a pilot study to: describe treatment for both conventional and task-specific reach-to-grasp therapy; assess whether people with stroke and therapists find the task-specific training acceptable, and inform design of a larger trial.
13 June 2011