After stroke loss of body sensations is common, with negative impact on exploration of the immediate environment, hand function and return to daily activities. Yet, there are currently few approaches to sensory retraining described and limited controlled evidence of the effectiveness of these approaches.
We developed an innovative approach to rehabilitate loss of sensation and hand function commonly experienced after stroke and tested its effectiveness tested in a randomised control trial of 50 stroke survivors with varying severity of sensory impairment. Between-group comparisons revealed a significantly greater improvement in sensory capacity following sensory discrimination training. Improvements were clinically significant and maintained at 6-weeks and 6-months. Patients with varying side of lesion, severity of sensory impairment, age and interval post-stroke were able to benefit from training. This approach to rehabilitation aims to improve lost abilities rather than focus on compensation alone. The program is clinically-oriented and achieved transfer of training effects to novel stimuli. Therapists can use this training approach when working with people who experience sensory loss after stroke.
For further information please contact Professor Leeanne Carey - http://www.florey.edu.au/research/neurorehabilitation-and-recovery