Handwriting performance versus arm forward reach and grasp abilities among post-stroke patients, a case-control study

Sharon Israely, Eli Carmeli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Evidence-based studies regarding deficits in handwriting performance relative to hand reaching and grasping after a stroke are lacking. Objective: To evaluate the extent of damage to handwriting skills compared to arm reach and grasp task among post-stroke patients. Methods: Eighteen patients and 19 healthy subjects were recruited to this case-control study. Patients were evaluated 15.2 days (±6.5) after the stroke using a Computerized Penmanship Evaluation Tool, surface Electromyography and Fugl-Meyer assessment. This study compared motor deficits in hand reaching and grasping and in handwriting between stroke patients and healthy subjects. Damage to handwriting performance relative to hand reaching and grasping skills was also evaluated. Results: Significant differences were found between groups in handwriting performance (p < 0.05). The performance of the trapezius, biceps, and triceps muscles can predict 63.5% of the variance in the ability to write a short sentence (p < 0.023). Pen pressure can predict 74.9% of the hand motor performance from Fugl Meyer assessment (p < 0.05). Handwriting was more damaged than was the pattern of activation of the proximal muscles of the shoulder and arm (p < 0.05). FM scores were highly, negatively correlated with the in-air writing time across tasks (r = −0.819, p < 0.004). Conclusions: This study confirms the clinical observation that dexterity skills are more damaged than are arm forward reach after a stroke. However, these differences in motor performance were not significant in mildly disabled patients, demonstrating the feasibility of handwriting rehabilitation in these patients. Therefore, we modestly recommend focusing on handwriting rehabilitation of the hemiparetic upper extremity in mildly impaired patients after a stroke.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-11
Number of pages7
JournalTopics in Stroke Rehabilitation
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • Electromyography (EMG)
  • Hand reaching
  • Handwriting
  • Stroke
  • Upper extremity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Community and Home Care
  • Rehabilitation

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