Patient Targeted Upper Extremity Rehabilitation After Stroke "TARG"


Phase N/A Results N/A

Trial Description

Each year in the US, approximately 795,000 people have a stroke, and the overwhelming majority of those who survive are unable to resume meaningful daily activities because of impaired movement in one arm/hand. This study will investigate the effects of a challenging 4-week physical rehabilitation therapy program that is targeted at specific movement impairments and systematically progressed to assure an ongoing "just right" level of rigor. The investigators anticipate that therapy targeted to address specific movement impairments will improve recovery of arm/hand movement in people who have had a stroke.

Detailed Description

The overwhelming majority of individuals who survive stroke have persistent upper extremity (UE) motor deficits which interfere with re-engagement in meaningful activities. While advances from neuroscience are spurring development of new rehabilitation strategies, the development of novel measurement methods has not kept pace. Currently, there is no comprehensive measurement framework to objectively quantify impairment, match a rehabilitation therapy program to a patient's impairment level, and measure specific therapy effects. Therefore there has not been a rehabilitation trial where a measurement framework is the basis for designing the treatment as well as defining the outcome. The investigators redesigned the Fugl-Meyer UE Assessment (FMA-UE) using item response theory Rasch analysis and developed a first of its kind measurement framework that locates a patient along a continuum of impairment and directs a personalized therapy program tailored to patients' specific impairments and ability levels. The purpose of this proposed research is to empirically test this framework.
The objective of this project is to empirically test the FMA-UE measurement framework.
This study hypothesizes that therapeutic task practice at the just-right challenge of difficulty will maximize post-stroke motor skill reacquisition. It is expected that "targeted task-practice", will increase UE motor ability because task goal difficulty will be matched and systematically progressed according to patients' initial and evolving levels of ability.
This is a single-blinded study with parallel arm design, stratified sampling and blocked randomization. 120 individuals with post-stroke UE hemiparesis will be enrolled; 40 participants per 3 UE impairment levels as defined by the investigators' measurement framework. Participants will engage in 12 sessions (3x/wk for 4 weeks, 2 hrs/session) of reach-to-grasp task-practice. Within each impairment level, subjects will be randomized to a treatment group; 20 to targeted task-practice and 20 to non-targeted task-practice. Targeted task-practice is personalized to patient-specific UE motor deficits with initial targets (goals) defined according to baseline measures and targets continually progressed after every 3 therapy sessions so that the goals match the patient's evolving level of ability. Non-targeted task practice is defined as a standard of care task-practice intervention intended to increase UE use but not alter specific impairments. Data analyses will include (1) ANOVA to test the effects of targeted vs. non-targeted therapy on UE motor ability, (2) multiple regression to model the relationship between therapy and movement adaptions occurring pre- to post-rehabilitation, and (3) growth mixture modeling to define responders and non-responders.
This project is significant because there is a pressing need for a comprehensive measurement framework to guide novel interventions designed to improve post-stroke UE motor function and define their effects.



  • Task Practice Physical Rehabilitation Therapy Behavioral
    Other Names: Task Practice
    Intervention Desc: Similar to stroke rehabilitation occupational therapy.
    ARM 1: Kind: Experimental
    Label: Targeted Task Practice
    Description: Targeted task practice is defined as a therapy program aimed at patient-specific upper extremity motor impairment levels and systematically progressed to assure an ongoing "just right" match between task-difficulty and patient-ability.
    ARM 2: Kind: Experimental
    Label: Non-Targeted Task Practice
    Description: Non-targeted task practice is a standard of care treatment consisting of task practice with no guidance from the measurement framework to systematically address specific upper extremity motor impairment levels or progress rehabilitation therapy.

Trial Design

  • Allocation: Randomized
  • Masking: Single Blind (Outcomes Assessor)
  • Purpose: Treatment
  • Intervention: Parallel Assignment


Type Measure Time Frame Safety Issue
Primary Fugl-Meyer Upper Extremity Assessment Rasch Analysis Person-Measure participants will be followed for the duration of the 4-week rehabilitation treatment, an expected average of 4 weeks. No
Secondary Kinematic Analysis of Functional Arm Movement participants will be followed for the duration of the 4-week rehabilitation treatment, an expected average of 4 weeks. No
Secondary Surface Electromyographic (sEMG) Analysis of Functional Arm Muscle Activations participants will be followed for the duration of the 4-week rehabilitation treatment, an expected average of 4 weeks. No