Background/objective: The upper extremity motor deficit is one of the functional challenges in post stroke patients. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the meaningful task-specific training (MTST) on the upper extremity motor recovery during the subacute phase after a stroke.
Method: This was a randomized, controlled, double-blinded trial in the neurology department of a university hospital and occupational therapy unit of a rehabilitation institute. A convenience sample of 103 people, 4 to 24 weeks (mean, 12.15 weeks) after the stroke, was randomized into 2 groups (MTST, 51; standard training group, 52). Subjects in the Brunnstrom stage of arm recovery of 2 to 5 were included in the study. Ninety-five participants completed the 8-week follow-up.
Interventions: Participants were assigned to receive either the MTST or dose-matched standard training program based on the Brunnstrom stage and Bobath neurodevelopmental technique, 4 to 5 days a week for 4 weeks. Fugl-Meyer assessment (FMA), Action Research Arm Test (ARAT), Graded Wolf Motor Function Test (GWMFT), and Motor Activity Log (MAL) were outcome measures
Results: The MTST group showed a positive improvement in the mean scores on the outcome measures at post and follow-up assessments in comparison to the control group. Further, statistically significant differences were observed in changes between the groups at post and follow-up assessment for FMA, ARAT, GWMFT, and MAL.
Conclusion: The MTST produced statistically significant and clinically relevant improvements in the upper extremity motor recovery of the patients who had a subacute stroke.