Stroke is a debilitating insult to the brain occurring from a blockage in blood supply (ischemic), or a bleed (hemorrhagic) in one hemisphere of the brain. Worldwide, approximately 10 million people are left with moderate to severe disability due to stroke; the most common deficit is upper extremity impairment. Current stroke rehabilitation strategies utilize task specific training of a skill, meaning one practices the specific skill they want to regain. However, it is possible that there are more generalized types of therapy that can be as effective in rehabilitating debilitated skills. The current study utilizes several skilled reaching tasks in mice which show striking parallels to human dexterous movements in order to observe the effects of task-specific versus generalized upper extremity rehabilitation post-stroke. Our findings through statistical and kinematic analysis have implications that task-specific rehabilitative strategies may promote more true recovery than compensation due to the lesser degree of abnormalities in movement post-training as compared to generalized therapy and control groups. Findings also support the validity of a skilled reaching task used in the rodent model; however, further studies and analysis are necessary.
Tomazin, Rachel, "Task Specificity and Functional Outcome: What is best for Post-Stroke Rehabilitation?" (2019). Honors Projects. 195.