Abstract 144: Forced Aerobic Exercise Enhances Upper Extremity Task Practice in Patients with Stroke
Introduction: Aerobic exercise (AE) has been shown to improve cardiovascular health in individuals with stroke; however, the potential role of AE in enhancing neuroplasticity after stroke has not been systematically studied. We have implemented a forced exercise (FE) cycling intervention, initially developed for individuals with Parkinson’s disease, with a cohort of individuals with chronic stroke. We hypothesize that intensive AE training, when paired with repetitive task practice (RTP), will “prime” the central nervous system, to exploit the motor learning effects of task practice.
Hypothesis: Individuals who perform FE followed by RTP will demonstrate greater improvements in motor and non-motor function compared to the voluntary rate aerobic exercise (VE) + RTP and RTP only groups. Individuals in both AE groups (FE and VE) will demonstrate greater improvements in VO2peak compared to the RTP only group.
Methods: Fifteen individuals 6-12 months post-stroke were enrolled into one of the following groups: 1) Forced Exercise + RTP (FE + RTP); 2) Voluntary Exercise + RTP (VE + RTP); and 3) Time-matched RTP. Participants in the AE groups completed one 45-minute session of stationary cycling followed immediately by one 45-minute session of upper extremity RTP; however, the rate of cycling for the FE group was augmented to approximately 35% faster than their voluntary rate. All participants completed a total of 24 exercise sessions over an 8-week period.
Results: While all three groups made significant improvements in motor function as measured by the Fugl-Meyer Assessment (p=.03), the FE+RTP group exceeded the VE+RTP and RTP only groups, approaching statistical significance (p=0.06), despite the two AE groups completing 44% less RTP practice time than the RTP group. Improvements in self-reported quality of life and depressive symptomology also improved across all three groups, with trends favoring the FE group. VO2peak improved by 1.1 and 2.68 mL/kg/min for the FE+RTP and VE+RTP groups, respectively; while VO2peak decreased by 0.85mL/kg/min in the RTP group.
Conclusion: FE + RTP is a promising intervention to enhance motor and non-motor function, in addition to aerobic capacity in individuals 6-12 months after stroke.
Author Disclosures: S. Linder: None. A. Rosenfeldt: None. J. Alberts: None.
- © 2015 by American Heart Association, Inc.