The nature of hand motor impairment after stroke and its treatment
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- Raghavan, P. Curr Treat Options Cardio Med (2007) 9: 221. doi:10.1007/s11936-007-0016-3
Hand motor impairments may be viewed as 1) a deficit in motor execution, resulting from weakness, spasticity, and abnormal muscle synergies, and/or 2) a deficit in higher-order processes, such as motor planning and motor learning, which lead to poorly formed sensorimotor associations that lead to impaired motor control. Although weakness and spasticity impede motor execution, strengthening and tone reduction represent simplistic solutions to the deficit in motor control after stroke. Deficits in hand motor control are better appreciated by examining the coordination of fingertip forces and movements during natural movements, and suggest that impairments in motor learning and planning are fundamental impediments to motor recovery following stroke. However, despite an explosion in the number of therapeutic protocols based on the principles of motor learning, little is known about the types of motor learning impairment that occur after stroke and how lesion location may influence motor relearning.