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Authors

  1. Kizony, Rachel OT, PhD
  2. Zeilig, Gabi MD
  3. Dudkiewicz, Israel MD
  4. Schejter-Margalit, Tamara OT, MSc
  5. Rand, Debbie OT, PhD

Abstract

Background and Purpose: Touch screen tablet technology might be suitable for self-training of impaired dexterity poststroke. We compared performance of app-based hand activities in individuals without a disability from 3-age groups, and assessed the feasibility of using tablet apps in individuals with stroke.

 

Methods: Experiment I included 172 Individuals without a disability: 79 young adults (26.2 [3.9] years old), 61 middle-aged adults (55.9 [5.1] years old), and 32 older adults (68.7 [3.0] years old). Experiment II included 20 individuals with stroke, aged 59.3 +/- 13.7 years with impairment of the upper extremity. All participants performed the app-based "Tap-it" (tapping) task twice and the Nine Hole Peg Test. The stroke group practiced with additional apps and underwent clinical assessments.

 

Results: Significant differences in the tapping task performance were found between the 3 age groups (dominant hand time: F(2,169) = 30.57; P = 0.0001; and accuracy F(2,169) = 25.20; P = 0.0001; nondominant hand time: F(2,169) = 35.09; P = 0.0001; and accuracy F(2,169) = 19.62; P = 0.0001). Of the 20 individuals with stroke, 15 were able to complete the 2 trials of the tapping task, but all participants reported enjoying the experience and thought the apps may have potential for stroke rehabilitation to improve performance of the stroke-affected hand.

 

Discussion and Conclusions: Performance of tablet app-based hand activities was affected by impaired hand dexterity in older participants without a disability and in participants with stroke. Tablet apps may potentially provide a way to facilitate self-training of repetitive, task-oriented, isolated finger and hand movements to improve hand dexterity and function after stroke.

 

Video abstract available for additional insights from the authors (see Supplemental Digital Content 1, http://links.lww.com/JNPT/A118).