Dynamic bimanual force control in chronic stroke: contribution of non-paretic and paretic hands
Dynamic force modulation is critical for performing skilled bimanual tasks. Unilateral motor impairments after stroke contribute to asymmetric hand function. Here, we investigate the impact of stroke on dynamic bimanual force control and compare the contribution of each hand to a bimanual task. Thirteen chronic stroke and thirteen healthy control participants performed bimanual, isometric finger flexion during visually guided, force tracking of a trapezoidal trajectory with force increment and decrement phases. We quantified the accuracy and variability of total force from both hands. Individual hand contribution was quantified with the proportion of force contributed to total force and force variability of each hand. The total force output was 53.10% less accurate and 56% more variable in the stroke compared with the control group. The variability of total force was 91.10% greater in force decrement than increment phase. In stroke group, the proportion of force and force variability contributed by each hand differed across the two phases. During force decrement, the proportion of force contributed by the non-paretic hand reduced and force variability of the non-paretic hand increased, compared with the increment phase. The control group showed no differences in each hand’s contribution across the two force phases. In conclusion, dynamic bimanual force modulation is impaired after stroke, with greater deficits in force decrement than force increment. The non-paretic and paretic hands adapt differentially to dynamic bimanual task constraints. During force decrement, the non-paretic hand preferentially assumes force modulation, while the paretic hand produces steady force to meet the force requirements.
KeywordsHemiparesis Force modulation Force variability Task constraint Motor control
AHA Scientist Development Award 14SDG20450151 to NL.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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