SENSe: Study of the Effectiveness of Neurorehabilitation on Sensation Academic Article uri icon


  • Sensory loss is common after stroke, with negative impact on exploration of the immediate environment, hand function, and return to daily activities.To compare the effectiveness of a perceptual-learning based sensory discrimination program versus non-specific exposure to sensory stimuli via passive movements and grasping of common objects.The authors conducted a randomized parallel-group controlled trial, with blinding of subjects, clinical assessors, and data analysts. Fifty subjects with impaired texture discrimination, limb position sense, and/or tactile object recognition (>6 weeks, median 48 weeks poststroke) were randomized to receive somatosensory discrimination training (n = 25) or repeated exposure to sensory stimuli (n = 25) in 60-minute sessions for a total of 10 hours. The primary outcome was change in a composite standardized somatosensory deficit (SSD) index following intervention. Follow-up was at 6 weeks and 6 months posttraining.Between-group comparisons revealed a significantly greater improvement in sensory capacity following sensory discrimination training, t(47) = 2.75, P = .004, 1-tailed; mean between-group change = 11.1 SSD; confidence interval 3.0 to 19.2. Improvements were maintained at 6 weeks and 6 months.Sensory discrimination training can achieve significant improvements in functional sensory discrimination capacity after stroke. The clinically oriented training achieved transfer of training effects to novel stimuli. Our findings provide support for introducing SENSe discrimination training in rehabilitation of sensory deficits after stroke.

publication date

  • May 2011