Grip Type and Task Goal Modify Reach-to-Grasp Performance in Post-Stroke Hemiparesis

in Motor Control
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This study investigated whether grip type and/or task goal influenced reaching and grasping performance in poststroke hemiparesis. Sixteen adults with poststroke hemiparesis and twelve healthy adults reached to and grasped a cylindrical object using one of two grip types (3-finger or palmar) to achieve one of two task goals (hold or lift). Performance of the stroke group was characteristic of hemiparetic limb movement during reach-to-grasp, with more curved handpaths and slower velocities compared with the control group. These effects were present regardless of grip type or task goal. Other measures of reaching (reach time and reach velocity at object contact) and grasping (peak thumb-index finger aperture during the reach and peak grip force during the grasp) were differentially affected by grip type, task goal, or both, despite the presence of hemiparesis, providing new evidence that changes in motor patterns after stroke may occur to compensate for stroke-related motor impairment.

Schaefer, DeJong and Cherry are with the Program in Physical Therapy, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO. Lang is with the Program in Physical Therapy, Program in Occupational Therapy, and Department of Neurology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO.