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|Grant, V. M., Gibson, A., & Shields, N. (2018). Somatosensory stimulation to improve hand and upper limb function after stroke—a systematic review with meta-analyses. Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation, 25(2), 150-160.
|Electrical stimulation, intervention, limbs, literature reviews, motor skills, outcomes, rehabilitation services, stroke
|Study examined the evidence on the effect of all types of somatosensory stimulation on motor function of the hand and arm after stroke compared to usual care or a placebo intervention. Five electronic databases (MEDLINE, CINAHL, Embase, PEDro and OT Seeker) were searched from inception to October 2016 for English-language randomized controlled trials (RCTs) where a sensory intervention was applied below the elbow to improve upper-limb motor control of adults after stroke. One outcome needed to measure arm function at an impairment or activity level. Study selection and quality assessment (using the PEDro scale) were independently conducted by two reviewers. Meta-analysis was completed where there was sufficient homogeneity between trials. Fifteen articles reporting data from 14 RCTs (627 participants) met the inclusion criteria. There was low-quality evidence from four trials that sensory electrical stimulation did not improve upper-limb activity compared to placebo and moderate-quality evidence from three trials that it did not improve motor impairment. Low-quality evidence from two trials demonstrated that therapist-delivered sensory stimulation did not improve upper-limb activity compared to usual care. The current low- to moderate-quality evidence suggests somatosensory stimulation is not effective in improving upper- limb motor impairment or activity after stroke.
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