Original article| Volume 94, ISSUE 4, P693-702, April 2013

Effects of Mobilization and Tactile Stimulation on Chronic Upper-Limb Sensorimotor Dysfunction After Stroke

Published:November 30, 2012DOI:



      To explore the effects of Mobilization and Tactile Stimulation (MTS) and patterns of recovery in chronic stroke (>12mo) when upper limb (UL) “performance” has reached a clear plateau.


      Replicated single-system experimental study with 8 single cases using A-B-A design (baseline-intervention-withdrawal phases); length of baseline randomly determined; intervention phase involved 6 weeks of daily MTS to the contralesional UL.


      Community setting, within participants' place of residence.


      Individual stroke survivors (N=8; male-to-female ratio, 3:1; age range, 49–76y; 4 with left hemiplegia, 4 with right hemiplegia) discharged from ongoing therapy, more than 1 year post stroke (range, 14–48mo). Clinical presentations were varied across the sample.


      Participants received up to 1 hour of daily (Monday to Friday) treatment with MTS to the UL for 6 weeks during the intervention (B) phase.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Motor function (Action Research Arm Test [ARAT]) and motor impairment (Motricity Index [MI] arm section) of the UL.


      UL performance was stable during baseline for all participants. On visual analysis, improvements in motor impairment were seen in all participants, and clinically significant improvements in motor function were seen in 4 of 8 participants during the intervention phase. Latency between onset of intervention and improvement ranged from 5 to 31 days (ARAT) and from 0 to 28 days (MI). Improvements in performance were maintained on withdrawal of the intervention. Randomization tests were not significant.


      MTS appears to improve UL motor impairment and functional activity many months, even years, after stroke onset. Improvement can be immediate, but more often there is latency between the start of intervention and improvement; recovery can be distal to proximal.


      List of abbreviations:

      ARAT (Action Research Arm Test), MI (Motricity Index), MRC (Medical Research Council), MTS (Mobilization and Tactile Stimulation), UK (United Kingdom), UL (upper limb)
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