Recent research in gait training for stroke survivors showed that coordinated gait components can be best restored using the following interventions together: coordination exercises, over ground gait training, and body weight supported treadmill training (BWSTT). These results are important because, to the investigators' knowledge, there have been no other reports of the restoration of coordinated gait components for those with persistent gait deficits (> 6 months after stroke). However, a remaining problem was that the restored coordinated gait movements measured in the laboratory did not generalize for many subjects to the everyday environment. The confluence of several factors can cause lack of generalization. First, dual task performance (gait and cognitive attention task) can degrade both gait and attention ability, even in healthy adults. Second, stroke can impair attention. Third, during walking in the everyday environment, attention is required in order to safely process normally occurring stimuli. Therefore, given the success of the new gait training protocol in the lab setting, it is important to address the problems remaining for generalization of the recovered coordinated gait pattern to the everyday environment. The primary hypothesis of this study is that greater gains in gait speed will be produced by combined motor and cognitive training versus motor training alone.
Aim 1, Hypothesis Ia: Comparison of combined motor and cognitive training vs motor training alone. For Aim 1, Hypothesis Ia, this will be a randomized, controlled study. For the two groups, 38 subjects will be enrolled and randomized to either: A) Motor + Cognitive Training; or B) Motor Training alone. Subjects will first be stratified according to coordination and gait deficit severity, as described below. After stratification, the subject will be randomized to one of the two intervention groups for Hypothesis Ia. All the subjects will receive treatment 5 times/week, 3hrs/session, for 12 weeks or for a total of 60 treatment sessions. Group A will receive combined motor and cognitive training; Table 2 (below) shows the graduated approach to providing combined gait and cognitive training. Data collection will be at weeks 1, 6, 12, and 24 (i.e., before, mid-treatment and after treatment, and then 3 months after the end of the treatment protocol. Comparison will be made between the two groups to determine whether there was any additive effectiveness of the cognitive training.
Aim 2, Hypotheses IIa-d: Pre/post-treatment comparisons within Group A, receiving combined motor and cognitive training. For Aim 2, Hypotheses IIa-d, this will be a single cohort pre/post-treatment comparison within Group A receiving combined motor and cognitive training.
Aim 3, Hypotheses IIIa-d: Pre/post-treatment comparisons within Group B, receiving motor training alone. For Aim 3, Hypotheses IIIa-d, this will be a single cohort pre/post-treatment comparison within Group B, receiving motor training alone.
- Cognitive training Behavioral
Intervention Desc: Cognitive training is designed to enhance attention, intention, executive function, decision making and reaction time. Commercially available computer software will be used, as well as custom cognitive training. ARM 1: Kind: Experimental Label: Gait plus cognitive training Description: Rehabilitation of walking/gait, combined with rehabilitation of cognitive function
- Gait Training Behavioral
Intervention Desc: Treatment will include coordination exercises and over ground gait training for impaired muscle groups and related gait deficits. The therapy will be provided by a clinical physical therapist specializing in rehabilitation for stroke patients, according to established, conventional guidelines. The protocol was used in the investigators' prior studies, and is designed to restore voluntary control of ankle dorsiflexion during swing phase; hip flexion during swing phase, knee flexion at toe-off, knee flexion during swing phase; knee extension before heel strike; knee control during stance phase; pelvic control during stance phase; and whole body balance control during weight shifting. Newly-learned coordinated movements will be integrated into practice of coordinated gait components. Cognitive rehabilitation will begin with the least difficult aspects of attention control, and progress to the more difficult. Home practice and generalization exercises will be assigned. ARM 1: Kind: Experimental Label: Gait plus cognitive training Description: Rehabilitation of walking/gait, combined with rehabilitation of cognitive function ARM 2: Kind: Experimental Label: Gait plus arm training Description: Rehabilitation of walking/gait, combined with rehabilitation of arm function
- Arm training Behavioral
Intervention Desc: Treatment will include coordination exercises for reaching and grasping. Activities will include movement of shoulder, elbow, wrist and fingers. ARM 1: Kind: Experimental Label: Gait plus arm training Description: Rehabilitation of walking/gait, combined with rehabilitation of arm function
- Allocation: Randomized
- Masking: Open Label
- Purpose: Treatment
- Endpoint: Efficacy Study
- Intervention: Parallel Assignment
|Type||Measure||Time Frame||Safety Issue|
|Primary||Change in the Gait Assessment and Intervention (G.A.I.T.) score||pre-training (0 weeks), midpoint of training (about 6 weeks), post training (about 12 weeks), follow -up (about 24 weeks)||No|