Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Calling GPs and stroke patients for research into constraint-induced movement therapy


Traditional treatment of movement problems for people who have suffered traumatic brain injury or strokes has mainly focused on making the best use of motor functions the patient has retained. A team at the University of Surrey is now examining a method which focuses on improving the weaker arm of patients with upper body hemiparesis (hand/arm disability resulting from brain damage). Professor Annette Sterr and her Clinical Neuroscience Research Group are carrying out a five-year study into the practical clinical application of constraint-induced movement therapy (CIT) and the brain mechanisms thought to make the treatment successful. The study is funded by a £760k Career Establishment Grant from the Medical Research Council.

CIT was founded in the US by Professor Edward Taub. He demonstrated that if monkeys with a disabled upper limb had their stronger arm constrained for several consecutive days whilst training their disabled limb using a behavioural learning technique called ‘shaping’, they would regain some use of the disabled limb. Professor Taub then tried this treatment with stroke patients with reduced hand function, constraining their good arms for 90% of waking hours for two weeks, whilst their affected arms were shaped for six hours a day by performing increasingly difficult arm movements. All the patients showed a marked improvement.

Such research would not be viable in rehabilitation clinics, as they are not designed to see patients for such long periods, and the longer therapy sessions may be too strenuous for many stroke victims. The study aims to build on Professor Sterr’s previous work which achieved significant results using shorter training periods and without constraining the good arm. The project also aims to understand the brain mechanisms linked to CIT success by studying brain images with fMRI and recording electrical activity in the brain with EEG. Professor Sterr says: “We know that recovery from brain damage relies on the rewiring of brain circuits and that this process can be stimulated by the tasks you give your brain to do. It is believed that intensive training helps the regain of function by engaging neurons so new brain connections can be formed. By studying electrical activity and images of the brain before and after treatment we are able to test this theory”.

The study at UniS will test 112 volunteers who have limited movement in one side of their upper body following a brain injury or stroke at least 12 months previously. Each volunteer will undergo fMRI scans and EEG recordings before and after treatment. The fMRI scanner is a research-only scanner, which allows the team to look at the functioning of the brain, in addition to brain structure shown by MRI scanners.

One group of volunteers will receive standard CIT treatment, while in a further four groups the length of training will vary, as will the use of a constraint. Training will last for two or three weeks, with follow ups every six months for two years. Once back at home, the volunteers will be given a programme of tasks to practise every day.

Group research officer Amy Saunders recently spent three weeks at the University of Alabama studying with Professor Taub, and is now looking to recruit volunteers for the UniS study. Patients need to be low functioning and the approval of their GP will be sought before they can be considered for the study.

Stuart Miller | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht NIH scientists describe potential antibody treatment for multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae
14.03.2018 | NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

nachricht Researchers identify key step in viral replication
13.03.2018 | University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

A new kind of quantum bits in two dimensions

19.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists have a new way to gauge the growth of nanowires

19.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>