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A Preliminary Investigation of an Electromyography-controlled Video Game as a Home Program for Persons in the Chronic Phase of Stroke Recovery


Donoso Brown EV, Westcott McCoy S, Fechko AS, Price R, Gilbertson T, Moritz CT



Publication Info:

Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 95(8):1461-1469


OBJECTIVE: To investigate the preliminary effectiveness of surface electromyography (sEMG) biofeedback delivered via interaction with a commercial computer game to improve motor control in chronic stroke survivors.
DESIGN: Single-blinded, 1-group, repeated-measures design: A1, A2, B, A3 (A, assessment; B, intervention).
SETTING: Laboratory and participants' homes.
PARTICIPANTS: A convenience sample of persons (N=9) between 40 and 75 years of age with moderate to severe upper extremity motor impairment and at least 6 months poststroke completed the study.
INTERVENTION: The electromyography-controlled video game system targeted the wrist muscle activation with the goal of increasing selective muscle activation. Participants received several laboratory training sessions with the system and then were instructed to use the system at home for 45 minutes, 5 times per week for the following 4 weeks.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Primary outcome measures included duration of system use, sEMG during home play, and pre/post sEMG measures during active wrist motion. Secondary outcomes included kinematic analysis of movement and functional outcomes, including the Wolf Motor Function Test and the Chedoke Arm and Hand Activity Inventory-9.
RESULTS: One third of participants completed or exceeded the recommended amount of system use. Statistically significant changes were observed on both game play and pre/post sEMG outcomes. Limited carryover, however, was observed on kinematic or functional outcomes.
CONCLUSIONS: This preliminary investigation indicates that use of the electromyography-controlled video game impacts muscle activation. Limited changes in kinematic and activity level outcomes, however, suggest that the intervention may benefit from the inclusion of a functional activity component.

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