Nyeonju Kang, James H. Cauraugh*
Motor Behavior Laboratory, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA
Force control deficits are common dysfunctions after a stroke. This review concentrates on various force control variables associated with motor impairments and suggests new approaches to quantifying force control production and modulation. Moreover, related neurophysiological mechanisms were addressed to determine variables that affect force control capabilities. Typically, post stroke force control impairments include: (a) decreased force magnitude and asymmetrical forces between hands, (b) higher task error, (c) greater force variability, (d) increased force regularity, and (e) greater time-lag between muscular forces. Recent advances in force control analyses post stroke indicated less bimanual motor synergies and impaired low-force frequency structure. Brain imaging studies demonstrate possible neurophysiological mechanisms underlying force control impairments: (a) decreased activation in motor areas of the ipsilesional hemisphere, (b) increased activation in secondary motor areas between hemispheres, (c) cerebellum involvement absence, and (d) relatively greater interhemispheric inhibition from the contralesional hemisphere. Consistent with identifying neurophysiological mechanisms, analyzing bimanual motor synergies as well as low-force frequency structure will advance our understanding of post stroke force control.
Keywords : Stroke; Motor recovery; Upper extremities; Force control; Rehabilitation; Brain activation; Bimanual coordination; Bimanual motor synergy; Frequency