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Article

Action Observation Therapy for Upper Limb Recovery in Patients with Stroke: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Study

1
Physical and Rehabilitative Medicine Unit, NHS-USL Tuscany South-Est, Via Senese 169, 58100 Grosseto, GR, Italy
2
Tuscany Rehabilitation Clinic, Montevarchi, Piazza del Volontariato 2, Montevarchi, 52025 Arezzo, AR, Italy
3
Sant’Isidoro Hospital, FERB Onlus, Via Ospedale 34, 24069 Trescore Balneario, BG, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Michelle Ploughman
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(3), 290; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11030290
Received: 2 February 2021 / Revised: 20 February 2021 / Accepted: 23 February 2021 / Published: 26 February 2021
Due to the complexity of the interventions for upper limb recovery, at the moment there is a lack of evidence regarding innovative and effective rehabilitative interventions. Action Observation Training (AOT) constitutes a promising rehabilitative method to improve upper limb motor recovery in stroke patients. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the potential efficacy of AOT, both in upper limb recovery and in functional outcomes when compared to patients treated with task oriented training (TOT). Both treatments were added to traditional rehabilitative treatment. Thirty-two acute stroke patients at 15.6 days (±8.3) from onset, with moderate to severe upper limb impairment at baseline following their first-ever stroke, were enrolled and randomized into two groups: 16 in the experimental group (EG) and 16 in the control group (CG). The EG underwent 30 min sessions of AOT, and the CG underwent 30 min sessions of TOT. All participants received 20 sessions of treatment for four consecutive weeks (five days/week). The Fugl-Meyer Assessment for Upper Extremity (FMA-UE), Box and Block Test (BBT), Functional Independence Measure (FIM) and Modified Ashworth Scale (MAS) were administered at baseline (T0) and at the end of treatment (T1). No statistical differences were found at T0 for inclusion criteria between the CG and EG, whereas both groups improved significantly at T1. After the treatment period, the rehabilitative gain was greater in the EG compared to the CG for FMA-UE and FIM (all p < 0.05). Our results suggest that AOT can contribute to increased motor recovery in subacute stroke patients with moderate to severe upper limb impairment in the early phase after stroke. The improvements presented in this article, together with the lack of adverse events, confirm that the use of AOT should be broadened out to larger pools of subacute stroke patients. View Full-Text
Keywords: stroke; action observation; rehabilitation; mirror neurons; upper limb stroke; action observation; rehabilitation; mirror neurons; upper limb
MDPI and ACS Style

Mancuso, M.; Tondo, S.D.; Costantini, E.; Damora, A.; Sale, P.; Abbruzzese, L. Action Observation Therapy for Upper Limb Recovery in Patients with Stroke: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Study. Brain Sci. 2021, 11, 290. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11030290

AMA Style

Mancuso M, Tondo SD, Costantini E, Damora A, Sale P, Abbruzzese L. Action Observation Therapy for Upper Limb Recovery in Patients with Stroke: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Study. Brain Sciences. 2021; 11(3):290. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11030290

Chicago/Turabian Style

Mancuso, Mauro, Serena Di Tondo, Enza Costantini, Alessio Damora, Patrizio Sale, and Laura Abbruzzese. 2021. "Action Observation Therapy for Upper Limb Recovery in Patients with Stroke: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Study" Brain Sciences 11, no. 3: 290. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11030290

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