Attentional demands for static postural control after stroke

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2002 Dec;83(12):1732-5. doi: 10.1053/apmr.2002.36400.


Objective: To assess the attentional demands associated with postural control among people who have had a stroke.

Design: Nonrandomized matched case-control study.

Setting: University research laboratory in Canada.

Participants: Six individuals who had suffered a left or right cerebral ischemic attack in the past year and a sample of 6 age- and gender-matched controls. Participants in the stroke group had a mean age of 64.17+/-13.14 years; control participants had a mean age of 64.00+/-13.91 years. Mean National Institute of Health Stroke Scale scores for these patients were 7.67+/-4.92 at the time of stroke and 1.66+/-1.36 at the time of testing. None of the patients were taking medications that would alter cognitive status or balance abilities.

Intervention: Participants performed a verbal reaction-time test while engaged in 3 postural tasks (sitting, standing, standing with feet together).

Main outcome measure: Reaction time: latency between visual stimulus and verbal response.

Results: Reaction times in the stroke group differed significantly in all conditions from the controls (410+/-72 ms vs 320+/-54 ms, P<.01). A significant interaction was found between group and postural task (P=.05), with reaction-time scores showing a progressive increase in postural task difficulty among participants who had suffered a stroke. Post hoc comparisons revealed that sitting reaction-time scores were significantly slower than reaction-time scores for feet together standing (P=.008) among participants in the stroke group.

Conclusion: Individuals who have suffered a stroke showed increased attentional demands for tasks of static postural control compared with healthy, age-matched participants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attention*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postural Balance*
  • Posture
  • Reaction Time
  • Stroke / physiopathology*
  • Stroke Rehabilitation