Effect of a training program on postural reflexes in individuals with chronic stroke: A randomized controlled study

Stroke is the number one cause of neurological disability in Canada. Following a stroke, people may experience paralysis, or loss of motor function, in the muscles controlling one side of the body. As a result, people with stroke can have difficulty maintaining balance when standing or walking. In fact, the incidence of falls among people who have had a stroke has been reported as high as 73 per cent within a six-month period following the stroke. Daniel Marigold is conducting the first study to assess whether an exercise program can improve the reflexes that control balance in people with chronic stroke. He will measure postural reflexes before and after a 10-week training program to see if they improve. Study participants will stand on a large platform, which suddenly moves under their feet. A harness will prevent people from falling and electrodes will measure muscle activity. If this study shows improvement in postural reflexes with training, an exercise program could be implemented in the community to help people with chronic stroke.