Arm weight support training improves functional motor outcome and movement smoothness after stroke

Michelangelo Bartolo, Alessandro Marco De Nunzio, Fabio Sebastiano, Francesca Spicciato, Paolo Tortola, Jan Nilsson, Francesco Pierelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this study was to compare the effectiveness in acute stroke patients of a rehabilitation program performed with or without an arm weight support device. Twenty-eight acute, first-ever unilateral stroke patients were enrolled in a single-blind, randomized controlled trial. Clinical evaluation included Fugl-Mayer As - sessment, Functional Independence Measure and kinematic analysis [maximum and mean hand velocity, maximum range of motion (Max RoM), normalized jerk (NJ)]. Patients received 12 daily 30-minute sessions (6/week) of additional upper limb therapy performed using an arm weight support device (study group) or additional traditional physiotherapy (control group). The patients were evaluated on admission and at the end of the rehabilitation intervention. The two groups were clinically comparable on admission (p>0.05). Both groups showed significant improvements in clinical scale scores and in Max RoM in flexion- extension, while only the study group showed improvements in NJ and in Max RoM in adductionabduction. Rehabilitation training using an arm weight support device appears to be a useful method to supplement conventional therapy in acute stroke patients, increasing smoothness of movement and motor function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-21
Number of pages7
JournalFunctional Neurology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Arm weight support
  • Kinematics
  • Neurorehabilitation
  • Stroke
  • Upper limb

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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