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No evidence of effectiveness of mirror therapy early after stroke: an assessor-blinded randomized controlled trial [with consumer summary]
Antoniotti P, Veronelli L, Caronni A, Monti A, Aristidou E, Montesano M, Corbo M
Clinical Rehabilitation 2019 May;33(5):885-893
clinical trial
7/10 [Eligibility criteria: Yes; Random allocation: Yes; Concealed allocation: No; Baseline comparability: Yes; Blind subjects: No; Blind therapists: No; Blind assessors: Yes; Adequate follow-up: Yes; Intention-to-treat analysis: Yes; Between-group comparisons: Yes; Point estimates and variability: Yes. Note: Eligibility criteria item does not contribute to total score] *This score has been confirmed*

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of mirror therapy on upper-limb recovery in early post-stroke patients. DESIGN: Assessor-blinded randomized controlled trial. SETTING: Inpatient rehabilitation clinic. SUBJECTS: A total of 40 patients with upper-limb impairment due to a first-ever ischaemic or haemorrhagic stroke, within four weeks from the cerebrovascular accident. INTERVENTION: The intervention group received mirror therapy, while the control group received sham therapy. During mirror therapy, patients' sound hand was reflected by a mirror. During sham therapy, an opaque surface replaced the mirror-reflecting surface. Both the mirror therapy and sham therapy groups practised their sound hand with exercises, ranging from the simple elbow flexion-extension to complex tasks (eg, reaching and grasping). Mirror therapy and sham therapy were added to conventional rehabilitation. MAIN MEASURES: Primary outcome includes Fugl-Meyer upper extremity scale. Secondary outcomes include action research arm test (ARAT) and functional independence measure (FIM) scale. Outcomes were measured at the beginning (T0) and end (T1) of the treatment. RESULTS: At baseline, both groups (sham therapy versus mirror therapy; mean (SD)) were comparable for Fugl-Meyer (30.9 (23.9) versus 28.5 (21.8)), ARAT (25.1 (25.5) versus 23.5 (24)) and FIM (71.0 (20.6) versus 72.9 (17.8)) scores. At the end of the treatment, both groups significantly improved in the Fugl-Meyer (40.6 (21.3) versus 38.3 (23.4)), ARAT (31.9 (23.0) versus 30 (24.1)) and FIM (100.3 (21.9) versus 99.4 (22.6)) scores. However, at T1, no significant difference was observed between the sham therapy and mirror therapy groups, neither for the Fugl-Meyer, nor for ARAT and FIM scores. CONCLUSION: Compared with sham therapy, mirror therapy did not add additional benefit to upper-limb recovery early after stroke.

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