Time course of motor gains induced by music-supported therapy after stroke: An exploratory case study

Neuropsychology. 2017 Sep;31(6):624-635. doi: 10.1037/neu0000355. Epub 2017 Apr 13.


Objective: Previous studies have shown that Music-Supported Therapy (MST) can improve the motor function and promote functional neuroplastic changes in motor areas; however, the time course of motor gains across MST sessions and treatment periods remain unknown. The aim of this study was to explore the progression of the rehabilitation of motor deficits in a chronic stroke patient for a period of 7 months.

Method: A reversal design (ABAB) was implemented in a chronic stroke patient where no treatment was provided in the A periods and MST was applied in the B periods. Each period comprised of 4 weeks and an extensive evaluation of the motor function using clinical motor tests and 3D movement analysis was performed weekly. During the MST periods, a keyboard task was recorded daily. A follow-up evaluation was performed 3 months after the second MST treatment.

Results: Improvements were observed during the first sessions in the keyboard task but clinical gains were noticeable only at the end of the first treatment and during the second treatment period. These gains were maintained in the follow-up evaluation.

Conclusions: This is the first study examining the pattern of motor recovery progression in MST, evidencing that gradual and continuous motor improvements are possible with the repeated application of MST training. Fast-acquisition in specific motor abilities was observed at the beginning of the MST training but generalization of these improvements to other motor tasks took place at the end or when another treatment period was provided. (PsycINFO Database Record

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Music Therapy / methods*
  • Stroke / therapy*
  • Stroke Rehabilitation / methods*

Grant support