Effects of Object Use on Reaching and Postural Balance: A Comparison of Patients with Unilateral Stroke and Healthy Controls.

Lin KC, Wu CY, Chen CL, Chern JS, Hong WH

The objective of this study was to evaluate whether the functional use of certain task objects while standing influences reaching performance and postural balance in persons with left or right cerebral vascular accidents, and also in healthy individuals. Thirty-five stroke patients and 31 healthy controls performed two experimental reaching tasks using the less affected arm while standing. For the object-present task, subjects held a glass and moved it forward as far as possible. For the object-absent task, subjects simply reached forward as far as possible. The authors found that the positive findings regarding center-of-pressure derivatives suggest that a functional use of objects during a standing reaching task can decrease postural sway, as represented by the average velocity of the center of pressure, in individuals with and without stroke. Patients with right cerebral vascular accidents may benefit considerably more from functional object use during a standing reaching task, apparently because such tasks can facilitate greater forward displacement of the center of pressure.

American Journal of Physical and Medical Rehabilitation, 2007, 86(10), 791-799

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