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Open Access Research

True functional ability of chronic stroke patients

William J Tippett1237*, Lisa D Alexander123, Mireille N Rizkalla7, Lauren E Sergio45 and Sandra E Black1236

Author Affiliations

1 L.C. Campbell Cognitive Neurology Research Unit, Toronto, ON, Canada

2 Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Research Institute, Toronto, ON, Canada

3 Heart and Stroke Foundation Centre for Stroke Recovery, Toronto, ON, Canada

4 School of Kinesiology and Health Science, York University, Toronto, ON, Canada

5 Centre for Vision Research, York University, Toronto, ON, Canada

6 Department of Medicine at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre & University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada

7 Department of Psychology, University of Northern British Columbia, 3333 University Way, Prince George, BC, Canada

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Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation 2013, 10:20  doi:10.1186/1743-0003-10-20

Published: 13 February 2013

Abstract

Background

There is a paucity of information regarding visuospatial (VS) and visuomotor (VM) task performance in patients with chronic right fronto-parietal lobe stroke, as the majority of knowledge to date in this realm has been gleaned from acute stroke patients. The goal of this paper is to determine how VS and VM performance in chronic stroke patients compare to the performance of healthy participants.

Methods

Nine patients with stroke involving the right fronto-parietal region were evaluated against match controls on neuropsychological tests and a computerized visuomotor assessment task.

Results

Initial evaluation indicated that performance between participant groups were relatively similar on all measures. However, an in-depth analysis of variability revealed observable differences between participant groups. In addition, large effect sizes were also observed supporting the theory that using only conventional examination (e.g., p-values) measures may result in miss-identifying crucial stroke-related differences.

Conclusion

Through conventional evaluation methods it would appear that the chronic stroke participants had made significant functional gains relatively to a control group many years post-stroke. It was shown that the type of evaluation used is essential to identifying group differences. Thus, supplementary methods of evaluation are required to unmask the true functional ability of individuals many years post-stroke.

Keywords:
Stroke; Visuospatial; Visuomotor; Variability; Functional