Journal of Taiwan Occupational Therapy Research and Practice
Objective: Sensory reeducation, based on the concept of neuroplasticity and on the prevention of learned nonuse, is frequently used for improving stroke-induced sensory impairment of the upper limb. The purposes of this study were to integrate the evidence of therapeutic effects of sensory reeducation for stroke and to analyze the treatment techniques, protocols, and possible rationale by literature review. Methods: To retrieve relevant studies for this review, articles published during 1950 to 2008, including randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and single-subject experimental designs (SSEDs), were searched from electronic databases. The independent variables of the target studies were sensory reeducation or sensory reeducation and other treatment. The dependent variables were sensory function or assessment containing at lest one sensory function and other abilities. Results: Five RCTs and three SSEDs articles were included. Our findings demonstrated that patients receiving sensory reeducation generally performed better in motor function and sensory function. The treatment protocols emphasize providing a lot of sensory stimuli and intensive trainings. Conclusion: With limited studies, sensory reeducation for stroke patients deserves more research. It is necessary to develop more valid and sensitive evaluation tools and refine treatment techniques and protocols to enhance adequate practice. Moreover, further research may underscore the factors that might mediate effects of sensory reeducation. Lastly, with large sample size, more precise experimental designs, and the use of neuroimage laboratory modalities, future research may facilitate development of theory-and evidence-based rehabilitation after stroke.