REPETITIVE SENSORIMOTOR TRAINING FOR ARM AND HAND IN A PATIENT WITH LOCKED-IN SYNDROME
Horst Hummelsheim and Christel Eickhof
The locked-in syndrome is character- ized by quadriplegia, preserved consciousness and inability to respond to the outside world. In recent years, the repetitive execution of identical movements has been demonstrated to be crucial for the recovery of arm and hand function in stroke patients. The present study aimed at investigating the efficiency of repetitive training in a patient suffering from locked- in syndrome due to an occlusion of the basilar artery. Seven months after the brainstem lesion and after a 15-week period of standard inpatient therapy, the repetitive training was applied to the (most affected) right upper extremity in addition to usual therapy. After 42 weeks of the repetitive training for the right arm, it was applied to the left arm. The ranges of active motion as well as functional motor capacity and muscle tone were regularly assessed. During those phases when the repetitive sensorimotor train- ing was applied to the right or left arm, the ranges of active motion, muscle strength and functional motor capacity of the trained arm increased significantly accompanied by a continuous normalization of muscle tone in the flexor muscle groups. Since the prominent functional improvements of the right and left arms were observed during those phases when the repetitive training was applied, these effects were likely to be due to the training rather than to the standard rehabilitation program or extraneous influ- ences. The repetitive sensorimotor training, there- fore, appears to be appropriate to improve motor function of the arm and hand and to accelerate the time course of recovery even in patients with almost complete central paralysis of both arms
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