Physical therapy helps recover arm function in chronic CVA

Physical therapy promotes the recovery of arm function and neuroplasticity in all chronic stroke patients, according to a study published online April 25 in the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice.

Raquel Carvalho, P.T., from the University of Minho in Braga, Portugal, and colleagues assessed the effect of physical therapy based on problem-solving in recovering arm function in three chronic stroke patients. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (during motor imagery and performance), the action research arm test, the motor assessment scale, and the Fugl-Meyer assessment scale were used to evaluate neuroplasticity and function.

The researchers found that all patients recovered more than 20 percent after the intervention. At baseline, stroke patients had increased areas similar to healthy subjects during motor execution but not during imagination. After the intervention, all patients increased activity in the contralateral precentral area.

Full story at Medical Xpress

Study: Primary Prevention Key to Decreasing Disparity in Black-White Stroke Mortality Rate

Reducing the stark disparity in stroke mortality between black and white Americans requires a focus on risk prevention in primary care and public health, say authors of a new study. But, they add, those efforts need to “go further upstream” by examining the reasons for the higher prevalence of stroke risk factors among black Americans, including consideration of what authors call “nontraditional risk factors.”

While overall stroke mortality and risk factors such as hypertension have declined over the years for both groups, black Americans at age 45 are more than 3 times as likely as their white peers to die of the disease. Although this difference has existed for decades, it wasn’t clear, based on evidence, where and how to target interventions accordingly.

The big question, according to authors, has to do with whether black Americans are having more strokes than white Americans, or whether strokes are more often fatal for black Americans. The answer could help health care providers, including physical therapists, understand the best way to approach this public health issue.

Full story of disparity in black-white stroke mortality rate at APTA

Robotic Glove Connected to Video Game Shows Promise for Individuals Poststroke

Researchers in England are hoping a prototype robotic glove will help speed rehabilitation for individuals poststroke by way of video games that are fun and interesting enough to keep users playing without real-time monitoring by health care providers.

According to a story recently published in CNET, University at Hertfordshire researchers have developed 2 of the gloves, which are capable of sensing and recording a wide range of finger, hand, wrist, and elbow movements. The movements can be programmed to operate elements in specially designed video games—bending the wrist to open and close a clam that earns points by eating fish, for example; or using a variety of hand, wrist, and elbow movements to control an alligator swimming down a river.

Full story of robotic glove and post stroke health at APTA

APTA Challenges AHA Report on ‘Association’ Between CMT and Stroke

A recent American Heart Association (AHA) statement that cervical manipulation may “play a role” in stroke fails to consider how physical therapist (PT) clinical judgment can reduce this risk, and overlooks the fact that manipulation is associated with far fewer complications than drug-based and surgical interventions, according to a news release from APTA. The AHA statement focused on an analysis of strokes caused by cervical arterial dissections (CDs).

“Incidents of stroke associated with cervical manipulation are rare,” according to the APTA statement, which cites studies from 2002 and 2010 that found “no strong evidence” connecting cervical manipulation therapy (CMT) and adverse events.

Full story of association between CMT and strokes at APTA