Does repetitive task training improve functional activity after stroke? A Cochrane systematic review and meta-analysis.

The objective of this study was to determine if repetitive task training after stroke improves functional activity. Included studies were randomized/quasi-randomized trials in adults after stroke where an active motor sequence aiming to improve functional activity was performed repetitively within a single training session. 14 trials with 17 intervention-control pairs and 659 participants were included. Results were statistically significant for walking distance; walking speed; sit-to-stand and activities of daily living; and of borderline statistical significance for measures of walking ability and global motor function. There were no statistically significant differences for hand/arm functional activity, lower limb functional activity scales, or sitting/standing balance/reach.

Repetitive task training resulted in modest improvement across a range of lower limb outcome measures, but not upper limb outcome measures. Training may be sufficient to have a small impact on activities of daily living. Interventions involving elements of repetition and task training are diverse and difficult to classify: the results presented are specific to trials where both elements are clearly present in the intervention, without major confounding by other potential mechanisms of action.

French B, Thomas L, Leathley M, Sutton C, McAdam J, Forster A, Langhorne P, Price C, Walker A, Watkins C. Does repetitive task training improve functional activity after stroke? A Cochrane systematic review and meta-analysis. J Rehabil Med. 2010 Jan;42(1):9-14

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