Typical upper limb-mediated activities of daily living involve coordination of both arms, often requiring distributed contributions to mechanically coupled tasks, such as stabilizing a loaf of bread with one hand while slicing with the other. We sought to examine whether mild paresis in one arm results in deficits in performance on a bilateral mechanically coupled task. We designed a virtual reality-based task requiring one hand to stabilize against a spring load that varies with displacement of the other arm. We recruited 15 chronic stroke survivors with mild hemiparesis and 7 age-matched neurologically intact adults. We found that stroke survivors produced less linear reaching movements and larger initial direction errors compared to controls (p < 0.05), and that contralesional hand performance was less linear than that of ipsilesional hand. We found a hand × group interaction (p < 0.05) for peak acceleration of the stabilizing hand, such that the dominant right hand of controls stabilized less effectively than the nondominant left hand while stroke survivors showed no differences between the hands. Our results indicate that chronic stroke survivors with mild hemiparesis show significant deficits in reaching aspects of bilateral coordination, but no deficits in stabilizing against a movement-dependent spring load in this task.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Computer Science (miscellaneous)
- Chemistry (miscellaneous)
- General Mathematics
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)