Journal Article

Exaggerated interlimb neural coupling following stroke

Tiffany L. Kline, Brian D. Schmit and Derek G. Kamper

in Brain

Published on behalf of The Guarantors of Brain

Volume 130, issue 1, pages 159-169
Published in print January 2007 | ISSN: 0006-8950
Published online October 2006 | e-ISSN: 1460-2156 | DOI:
Exaggerated interlimb neural coupling following stroke

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The patterns of interlimb coupling were examined in 10 stroke survivors with chronic hand impairment. In particular, the potential roles of postural state and motor tasks in promoting the flexed posture of the upper extremity were assessed. Through the use of electromyography analysis, joint angle measurements and a novel biomechanical apparatus to perturb the digits of the hand into extension, measurements of muscle activity and joint position were compared during multiple postural states, locomotion and voluntary muscle activity. The results demonstrated a significant increase in flexion of the digits (P < 0.001) and elbow (P < 0.005), during walking as compared with standing, sitting or laying supine. These results were indicative of an overall excessive activation coupling between the upper and lower extremities after stroke. Indeed both voluntary finger flexion and voluntary leg extension produced significant activity in the other impaired extremity, leg and arm, respectively, in the stroke as compared with the control subjects. Thus, rectus femoris in the impaired leg was active during finger flexion of the impaired hand in the stroke survivors and all four tested muscles in the impaired arm were active during extension of the legs (P < 0.05). These findings suggest an interlimb coupling related to active motor tasks, contributing to an upper extremity flexion bias following stroke.

Keywords: hemiparesis; stroke; posture; hand; muscle activity

Journal Article.  6221 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neurology ; Neuroscience

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