Myoelectric Computer Interface Training for Reducing Co-Activation and Enhancing Arm Movement in Chronic Stroke Survivors: A Randomized Trial

Emily M. Mugler, Goran Tomic, Aparna Singh, Saad Hameed, Eric W. Lindberg, Jon Gaide, Murad Alqadi, Elizabeth Robinson, Katherine Dalzotto, Camila Limoli, Tyler Jacobson, Jungwha Lee, Marc W. Slutzky*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background. Abnormal muscle co-activation contributes to impairment after stroke. We developed a myoelectric computer interface (MyoCI) training paradigm to reduce abnormal co-activation. MyoCI provides intuitive feedback about muscle activation patterns, enabling decoupling of these muscles. Objective. To investigate tolerability and effects of MyoCI training of 3 muscle pairs on arm motor recovery after stroke, including effects of training dose and isometric versus movement-based training. Methods. We randomized chronic stroke survivors with moderate-to-severe arm impairment to 3 groups. Two groups tested different doses of isometric MyoCI (60 vs 90 minutes), and one group tested MyoCI without arm restraint (90 minutes), over 6 weeks. Primary outcome was arm impairment (Fugl-Meyer Assessment). Secondary outcomes included function, spasticity, and elbow range-of-motion at weeks 6 and 10. Results. Over all 32 subjects, MyoCI training of 3 muscle pairs significantly reduced impairment (Fugl-Meyer Assessment) by 3.3 ± 0.6 and 3.1 ± 0.7 (P < 10−4) at weeks 6 and 10, respectively. Each group improved significantly from baseline; no significant differences were seen between groups. Participants’ lab-based and home-based function also improved at weeks 6 and 10 (P ≤.01). Spasticity also decreased over all subjects, and elbow range-of-motion improved. Both moderately and severely impaired patients showed significant improvement. No participants had training-related adverse events. MyoCI reduced abnormal co-activation, which appeared to transfer to reaching in the movement group. Conclusions. MyoCI is a well-tolerated, novel rehabilitation tool that enables stroke survivors to reduce abnormal co-activation. It may reduce impairment and spasticity and improve arm function, even in severely impaired patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)284-295
Number of pages12
JournalNeurorehabilitation and Neural Repair
Volume33
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019

Keywords

  • EMG
  • co-activation
  • feedback
  • function
  • impairment
  • stroke rehabilitation
  • upper extremity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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