We explored the changes in multi-finger synergies in patients after a single cortical stroke with mild motor impairments. We hypothesized that both synergy indices and anticipatory synergy adjustments prior to the initiation of a self-paced quick action would be diminished in the patients compared to age-matched controls. The patients with history of cortical stroke, and age-matched controls (n = 12 in each group) performed one-finger and multi-finger accurate force production tasks involving both steady-state and quick force pulse production. Finger interdependence (enslaving) and multi-finger synergies stabilizing total force were quantified. The stroke patients showed lower maximal finger forces, in particular in the contralesional hand, which also showed increased enslaving indices. Multi-finger synergies during steady-state force production were, however, unchanged after stroke. In contrast, a drop in the synergy index prior to the force pulse generation was significantly delayed in the stroke patients. Our results show that mild cortical stroke leads to no significant changes in multifinger synergies, but there is impairment in feed-forward adjustments of the synergies prior to a quick action, a drop in the maximal force production, and an increase in enslaving. We conclude that studies of synergies reveal two aspects of synergic control differentially affected by cortical stroke.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)194-205
Number of pages12
StatePublished - Apr 5 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience


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