Robot-assisted bilateral arm therapy (RBAT) has shown promising results in stroke rehabilitation; however, connectivity mapping of the sensorimotor networks after RBAT remains unclear. We used fMRI before and after RBAT and a dose-matched control intervention (DMCI) to explore the connectivity changes in 6 subacute stroke patients. Sensorimotor functions improved in the RBAT and DMCI groups after treatment. Enhanced activation changes were observed in bilateral primary motor cortex (M1) and bilateral supplementary motor area (SMA) after RBAT. Dynamic causal model analysis revealed that interhemispheric connections were enhanced in RBAT patients.
These preliminary findings suggest that intracortical and intercortical coupling might underlie poststroke RBAT.