Stroke patients are often left with hemiplegia or hemiparesis of the upper extremities, severely limiting the ability to perform bimanual and functional activities. No studies have investigated how stroke patients adapt their movements to changes in object size in functionally asymmetric bimanual tasks. The influence of object size on intralimb and interlimb coordination during an asymmetrical, functional bimanual task was examined in patients with left cerebral vascular accidents (LCVA) and healthy controls. Fourteen LCVA patients and 13 age-matched controls were instructed to reach to grasp a large and a small jar with the right/affected hand and to open the cap with the other hand. Movement kinematics was analyzed for intralimb coordination (spatial and temporal planning of reaching and grasping) and interlimb coordination (bimanual synchronization and temporal association of the hands). The results demonstrate a spatial adaptation of reaching in the affected hand to the object size and deficits in temporal planning of grasping with the affected hand to object size in the stroke patients. Movement adaptations of the unaffected hand in the stroke patients were similar to those in the healthy adults. Bimanual coordination was independent of object size for both groups.
Wu and Chou are with the Dept. of Occupational Therapy and the Graduate Institute of Clinical Behavioral Science, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan. Kuo is with the Dept. of Physical Therapy, China Medical University, Taichung. Chen is with the School of Occupational Therapy, Chung Shan Medical University, Taichung. Lu (corresponding author) and Fu are with the Institute of Biomedical Engineering, National Taiwan University, Taipei, No. 1, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Rd., 10617 Taiwan.