Dual-task training effects on motor and cognitive functional abilities in individuals with stroke: a systematic review

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Abstract

Objective:

This systematic review aimed to examine the effects of dual-task balance and mobility training in people with stroke.

Methods:

An extensive electronic databases literature search was conducted using MEDLINE, PubMed, EBSCO, The Cochrane Library, Web of Science, SCOPUS, and Wiley Online Library. Randomized controlled studies that assessed the effects of dual-task training in stroke patients were included for the review (last search in December 2017). The methodological quality was evaluated using the Cochrane Collaboration recommendation, and level of evidence was determined according to the criteria described by the Oxford Center for Evidence-Based Medicine.

Results:

About 13 articles involving 457 participants were included in this systematic review. All had substantial risk of bias and thus provided level IIb evidence only. Dual-task mobility training was found to induce more improvement in single-task walking function (standardized effect size = 0.14–2.24), when compared with single-task mobility training. Its effect on dual-task walking function was not consistent. Cognitive-motor balance training was effective in improving single-task balance function (standardized effect size = 0.27–1.82), but its effect on dual-task balance ability was not studied. The beneficial effect of dual-task training on cognitive function was provided by one study only and thus inconclusive.

Conclusion:

There is some evidence that dual-task training can improve single-task walking and balance function in individuals with stroke. However, any firm recommendation cannot be made due to the weak methodology of the studies reviewed.

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