Merdler, T., Liebermann, D. G., Levin, M. F., & Berman, S. (2013). Arm-plane representation of shoulder compensation during pointing movements in patients with stroke. J Electromyogr Kinesiol, 23(4), 938–947.
Abstract: Improvements in functional motor activities are often accompanied by motor compensations to overcome persistent motor impairment in the upper limb. Kinematic analysis is used to objectively quantify movement patterns including common motor compensations such as excessive trunk displacement during reaching. However, a common motor compensation to assist reaching, shoulder abduction, is not adequately characterized by current motion analysis approaches. We apply the arm-plane representation that accounts for the co-variation between movements of the whole arm, and investigate its ability to identify and quantify compensatory arm movements in stroke subjects when making forward arm reaches. This method has not been previously applied to the analysis of motion deficits. Sixteen adults with right post-stroke hemiparesis and eight healthy age-matched controls reached in three target directions (14 trials/target; sampling rate: 100Hz). Arm-plane movement was validated against endpoint, joint, and trunk kinematics and compared between groups. In stroke subjects, arm-plane measures were correlated with arm impairment (Fugl-Meyer Assessment) and ability (Box and Blocks) scores and were more sensitive than clinical measures to detect mild motor impairment. Arm-plane motion analysis provides new information about motor compensations involving the co-variation of shoulder and elbow movements that may help to understand the underlying motor deficits in patients with stroke.