Motor imagery intervention among post stroke patients: A study protocol


Background: Motor imagery (i.e., mental rehearsal of movement) can produce neural activity normally attributed to practicing the actual movements. Research provides us with the finding that motor imagery capacity may be intact even when physical capacity is not, as it is found in many stroke patients. Imagining limb movements could stimulate the redistribution of brain activity and accompany recovery of limb function, aiding the stroke rehabilitation process. Study Design: The present study has a single-center quasi experimental longitudinal design involving one intervention group (IG) and one control group (CG). Participants: According to G-power analysis N = 58 participants in total will be needed (f = .25, alpha = .05, Power = .95, r = .20). Inclusion criteria are age between 18 and 65, stroke diagnosis, intact anticipation of laterality, and Mini Mental State Examination > 25. Recruitment will be done in a German rehabilitation center. Intervention & Measures: The IG mentally rehearses movements in six 30 min sessions under close supervision. Their recovery is compared to the CG who attends a relaxation program. Patients in both groups are assessed before and after four weeks, three, and six months. Motor imagery training effectiveness is evaluated using measures of disability, workability, and quality of life. Discussion: This study will increase our knowledge about the efficacy of MI on both disability and quality of life. The results of this study will help to make motor imagery treatment protocols for adults who suffered from stroke more evidence-based.

Acknowledgments: The research will be funded by a German pension insurance.