New arm therapy shows promise for stroke victims

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A new therapy technique could help stroke survivors who have lost function in one arm, a new study, supported by the National Institutes of Health, finds.

Constraint-induced movement therapy involves training the weakened hand and arm through repetitive exercises, while restraining the unaffected hand and arm with a mitt like a boxing glove. The theory behind the hand restraint is that it forces the wearer to use the affected hand and arm.

The study, which appears in the Nov. 1 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, involved 222 patients who had an arm weakened by a stroke. Those who received CIMT showed improved function of the stroke-affected arm in timed tasks and in self-reported daily use up to 12 months later.