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Does perturbation-based balance training improve control of reactive stepping in individuals with chronic stroke?
Schinkel-Ivy A, Huntley AH, Aqui A, Mansfield A
Journal of Stroke & Cerebrovascular Diseases 2019 Apr;28(4):935-943
clinical trial
6/10 [Eligibility criteria: Yes; Random allocation: Yes; Concealed allocation: Yes; Baseline comparability: Yes; Blind subjects: No; Blind therapists: No; Blind assessors: Yes; Adequate follow-up: No; Intention-to-treat analysis: No; Between-group comparisons: Yes; Point estimates and variability: Yes. Note: Eligibility criteria item does not contribute to total score] *This score has been confirmed*

BACKGROUND: Although perturbation-based balance training (PBT) may be effective in improving reactive balance control and/or reducing fall risk in individuals with stroke, the characteristics of reactive balance responses that improve following PBT have not yet been identified. This study aimed to determine if reactive stepping characteristics and timing in response to support-surface perturbations improved to a greater extent following PBT, compared to traditional balance training. MATERIALS AND METHODS: This study represents a substudy of a multisite randomized controlled trial. Sixteen individuals with chronic stroke were randomly assigned to either perturbation-based or traditional balance training, and underwent 6-weeks of training as a part of the randomized controlled trial. Responses to support-surface perturbation were evaluated pre- and post-training, and 6-months post-training. Reactive stepping characteristics and timing were compared between sessions within each group, and between groups at post-training and 6-months post-training while controlling for each measure at the pre-training session. RESULTS: The frequency of extra steps in response to perturbations decreased from pre-training to post-training for the PBT group, but not for the control group. CONCLUSIONS: Improvements in reactive balance control were identified after PBT in individuals with chronic stroke. Findings provide insight into the mechanism by which PBT improves reactive balance control poststroke, and support the use of PBT in balance rehabilitation programs poststroke.
Copyright by WB Saunders Company.

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