Gross motor ability predicts response to upper extremity rehabilitation in chronic stroke
The majority of rehabilitation research focuses on the comparative effectiveness of different interventions in groups of patients, while much less is currently known regarding individual factors that predict response to rehabilitation. In a recent article, the authors presented a prognostic model to identify the sensorimotor characteristics predictive of the extent of motor recovery after Constraint-Induced Movement (CI) therapy amongst individuals with chronic mild-to-moderate motor deficit using the enhanced probabilistic neural network (EPNN). This follow-up paper examines which participant characteristics are robust predictors of rehabilitation response irrespective of the training modality. To accomplish this, EPNN was first applied to predict treatment response amongst individuals who received a virtual-reality gaming intervention (utilizing the same enrollment criteria as the prior study). The combinations of predictors that yield high predictive validity for both therapies, using their respective datasets, were then identified. High predictive classification accuracy was achieved for both the gaming (94.7%) and combined datasets (94.5%). Though CI therapy employed primarily fine-motor training tasks and the gaming intervention emphasized gross-motor practice, larger improvements in gross motor function were observed within both datasets. Poorer gross motor ability at pre-treatment predicted better rehabilitation response in both the gaming and combined datasets. The conclusion of this research is that for individuals with chronic mild-to-moderate upper extremity hemiparesis, residual deficits in gross motor function are highly responsive to motor restorative interventions, irrespective of the modality of training.