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Home Mirror Therapy: A Randomized Control Study Comparing Unimanual and Bimanual Mirror Therapy for Improved Arm and Hand Function Post-stroke

Geller, Daniel

Stroke is the leading cause of disability in the United States. The majority of stroke survivors have persistent arm dysfunction, which impedes their daily task performance. Mirror therapy (MT) as an adjunct to occupational therapy (OT) has been shown to be effective in upper extremity (UE) recovery post-stroke. Two protocols, unimanual mirror therapy (UMT) and bimanual mirror therapy (BMT), have been used in OT practice; however, research specifically comparing these two intervention protocols is absent. The purpose of this study was to compare: (a) home-based UMT and BMT protocols, and (b) both MT protocols to home-based traditional occupational therapy (TOT) regarding upper limb recovery post-stroke.
Twenty-two chronic stroke participants were randomized into one of three groups: UMT, BMT, or TOT. The Action Research Arm Test (ARAT), Fugl-Meyer Assessment (FMA), ABILHAND, grip strength, and the Stroke Impact Scale (SIS) were administered pre- and post-intervention. Participants received outpatient OT 2 days/week for 45 minutes, plus a home program 30 minutes a day, 5 days/week for 6 weeks. A repeated measure ANOVA, Kruskal-Wallis Test, and Wilcoxon Ranked-Signed Test were used to compare the three groups, and 95% confidence intervals (CI) and effect sizes were calculated.
There was a main effect of time for all groups, except for SIS-strength and activities of daily living (ADL); however, no group differences were noted on any of the measures. When comparing UMT and BMT, the effect size for all measures, except for grip strength, favored UMT. In comparing both mirror groups to TOT, UMT had a moderate to large effect size on the ARAT, FMA, and ABILHAND, as compared to the small effect size for BMT. Furthermore, 95% CI data for the ABILHAND showed clinical significance in favor of UMT compared to TOT, but not for BMT.
This study showed that all groups improved over time and UMT may be more beneficial for UE recovery in chronic stroke individuals, compared to either BMT or TOT. However, given the small sample size, future studies comparing the two mirror protocols are necessary for more definitive conclusions to better inform clinicians of the optimal mode of MT treatment.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Biobehavioral Sciences
Thesis Advisors
Nilsen, Dawn
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
June 10, 2018