Despite upper extremity function playing a crucial role in maintaining one’s independence in activities of daily living, upper extremity impairments remain one of the most prevalent post-stroke deficits. To enhance the upper extremity motor recovery and performance among stroke survivors, two training paradigms in the fields of robotics therapy involving modifying haptic feedback were proposed: the error-augmentation (EA) and error-reduction (ER) paradigms. There is a lack of consensus, however, as to which of the two paradigms yields superior training effects. This systematic review aimed to determine (i) whether EA is more effective than conventional repetitive practice; (ii) whether ER is more effective than conventional repetitive practice and; (iii) whether EA is more effective than ER in improving post-stroke upper extremity motor recovery and performance. The study search and selection process as well as the ratings of methodological quality of the articles were conducted by two authors separately, and the results were then compared and discussed among the two reviewers. Findings were analyzed and synthesized using the level of evidence. By August 1st 2017, 269 articles were found after searching 6 databases, and 13 were selected based on criteria such as sample size, type of participants recruited, type of interventions used, etc. Results suggest, with a moderate level of evidence, that EA is overall more effective than conventional repetitive practice (motor recovery and performance) and ER (motor performance only), while ER appears to be no more effective than conventional repetitive practice. However, intervention effects as measured using clinical outcomes were under most instance not ‘clinically meaningful’ and effect sizes were modest. While stronger evidence is required to further support the efficacy of error modification therapies, the influence of factors related to the delivery of the intervention (such as intensity, duration) and personal factors (such as stroke severity and time of stroke onset) deserves further investigations as well.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.