Treatment for Movement Problems in Elderly Stroke Patients


Phase 2 Results N/A

Trial Description

After a stroke, many patients are left with an impaired arm. Restricting the use of the good arm may improve the use of the bad arm. In "Constraint-Induced Movement" therapy (CI therapy), the good arm is put in a sling to force increased use of the bad arm. The bad arm is also trained each day for several weeks. This study will evaluate the effectiveness of CI therapy in patients with chronic disability after stroke and whether the rate of recovery is decreased in elderly patients.

Detailed Description

Stroke afflicts over 700,000 Americans each year. Behavioral techniques that impact plasticity of the nervous system need to be incorporated into practical, evidence-based therapeutic interventions. This is especially true at a time when the duration of treatments reimbursed by third party payers has shortened.
CI therapy was derived from basic research with animal subjects and human volunteers. Randomized, controlled studies indicate that it can substantially reduce the motor deficit of patients with mild to moderate chronic strokes and can increase their independence over a period of years. CI therapy involves motor restriction of the less affected upper extremity for a period of 2 to 3 weeks while concurrently training the more affected upper limb. This gives rise to massed or concentrated repetitive use of the more affected extremity. CI therapy leads to a large increase in use-dependent cortical reorganization involving the recruitment of other regions of the brain in the innervation of the more affected extremity movement.
One of the main aims of the proposed research is to determine if CI therapy can be used with therapeutic success for increasing the amount of real-world extremity use in patients with chronic stroke. Another aim is to ascertain whether the locus of the lesion and its size, as determined by MRI, are factors influencing the extent to which motor function can be recovered through the use of CI therapy.
Eighty patients with chronic stroke will be randomly assigned to receive either CI therapy or a General Fitness control intervention. Two years after study entry, the patients in the control group will be crossed over to receive CI therapy. Primary outcome measures will be a laboratory motor function test and amount of extremity use in the real-world setting. Changes in psychosocial functioning will also be measured.



Trial Design

  • Allocation: Randomized
  • Masking: Single Blind
  • Purpose: Treatment
  • Endpoint: Efficacy Study
  • Intervention: Crossover Assignment


Type Measure Time Frame Safety Issue
No outcomes associated with this trial.