Precise isometric hand grip learning of hemiparetic stroke patients

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Rehabilitation of hand movements after stroke aims at skills that can be well retained and transferred to novel conditions. These functions may be altered by training schedules such as constant and variable practice. A total of 36 participants with hemiparesis completed one of these schedules counterbalanced. Precise isometric hand grip force production was practiced for 4 days with a target force of 25% maximum voluntary contraction. The constant group practiced only the target force, whereas the variable group practiced the same amount including ±5 and 10% maximum voluntary contraction. Target force presentation and feedback were provided visually. Results indicated that both practice schedule led to learning. Variable practice resulted in a superior performance in retention and transfer tests, suggesting that it may be effective not only in the healthy population but also in stroke rehabilitation.

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