Rheinfelden, Switzerland
Rheinfelden, Switzerland

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Schuster C.,Reha Rheinfelden | Schuster C.,Oxford Brookes University | Wirth B.,ETH Zurich | Ettlin T.,Reha Rheinfelden | Ettlin T.,University of Basel
BMC Medical Research Methodology | Year: 2012

Background: A combination of physical practice and motor imagery (MI) can improve motor function. It is essential to assess MI vividness in patients with sensorimotor impairments before implementing MI interventions. The study's aims were to translate the Canadian Kinaesthetic and Visual Imagery Questionnaire (KVIQ) and the French Imaprax, and to examine reliability and validity of the German versions. Methods. Questionnaires were translated according to guidelines. With examiner's help patients (diagnosis: stroke: subacute/chronic, brain tumour, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's disease) were tested twice within seven days (T0, T1). KVIQ-G: Patients were shown a movement by the examiner, before executing and imagining the movement. They rated vividness of the image and intensity of the sensations on a five-point Likert-scale. Imaprax required a 3-step procedure: imagination of one of six gestures; evaluation of gesture understanding, vividness, and imagery perspective. Questionnaire data were analysed overall and for each group. Reliability parameters were calculated: intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC), Cronbach's alpha, standard error of measurement, minimal detectable change. Validity parameters included Spearman's rank correlation coefficient and factor analysis of the KVIQ-G-20. Results: Patients (N = 73, 28 females, age: 63 ± 13) showed the following at T0: KVIQ-G-20vis 41.7 ± 9, KVIQ-G-10vis 21.1 ± 5. ICC for KVIQ-G-20vis and KVIQ-G-10vis was 0.77; KVIQ-G-20kin 36.4 ± 12, KVIQ-G-10kin 18.3 ± 6. ICCs for KVIQ-G-20kin and KVIQ-G-10kin were 0.83/0.85; Imapraxvis 32.7 ± 4 and ICC 0.51. Internal consistency was estimated for KVIQ-G-20 αvis = 0.94/αkin = 0.92, KVIQ-G-10 αvis = 0.88/αkin = 0.96, Imaprax-G αvis = 0.70. Validity testing was performed with 19 of 73 patients, who chose an internal perspective: rs = 0.36 (p = 0.13). Factor analysis revealed two factors correlating with r = 0.36. Both explain 69.7% of total variance. Conclusions: KVIQ-G and Imaprax-G are reliable instruments to assess MI in patients with sensorimotor impairments confirmed by a KVIQ-G-factor analysis. KVIQ-G visual values were higher than kinaesthetic values. Patients with Multiple Sclerosis showed the lowest, subacute stroke patients the highest values. Hemiparetic patients scored lower in both KVIQ-G subscales on affected side compared to non-affected side. It is suggested to administer the Imaprax-G before the KVIQ-G to test patient's ability to distinguish between external and internal MI perspective. Duration of both questionnaires lead to an educational effect. Imaprax validity testing should be repeated. © 2012 Schuster et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Schuster C.,Reha Rheinfelden | Schuster C.,Oxford Brookes University | Butler J.,Oxford Brookes University | Andrews B.,John Radcliffe Hospital | And 5 more authors.
Trials | Year: 2012

Background: Motor imagery (MI) when combined with physiotherapy can offer functional benefits after stroke. Two MI integration strategies exist: added and embedded MI. Both approaches were compared when learning a complex motor task (MT): 'Going down, laying on the floor, and getting up again'.Methods: Outpatients after first stroke participated in a single-blinded, randomised controlled trial with MI embedded into physiotherapy (EG1), MI added to physiotherapy (EG2), and a control group (CG). All groups participated in six physiotherapy sessions. Primary study outcome was time (sec) to perform the motor task at pre and post-intervention. Secondary outcomes: level of help needed, stages of MT-completion, independence, balance, fear of falling (FOF), MI ability. Data were collected four times: twice during one week baseline phase (BL, T0), following the two week intervention (T1), after a two week follow-up (FU). Analysis of variance was performed.Results: Thirty nine outpatients were included (12 females, age: 63.4 ± 10 years; time since stroke: 3.5 ± 2 years; 29 with an ischemic event). All were able to complete the motor task using the standardised 7-step procedure and reduced FOF at T0, T1, and FU. Times to perform the MT at baseline were 44.2 ± 22s, 64.6 ± 50s, and 118.3 ± 93s for EG1 (N = 13), EG2 (N = 12), and CG (N = 14). All groups showed significant improvement in time to complete the MT (p < 0.001) and degree of help needed to perform the task: minimal assistance to supervision (CG) and independent performance (EG1+2). No between group differences were found. Only EG1 demonstrated changes in MI ability over time with the visual indicator increasing from T0 to T1 and decreasing from T1 to FU. The kinaesthetic indicator increased from T1 to FU. Patients indicated to value the MI training and continued using MI for other difficult-to-perform tasks.Conclusions: Embedded or added MI training combined with physiotherapy seem to be feasible and benefi-cial to learn the MT with emphasis on getting up independently. Based on their baseline level CG had the highest potential to improve outcomes. A patient study with 35 patients per group could give a conclusive answer of a superior MI integration strategy.Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT00858910. © 2012 Schuster et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Stoller O.,Bern University of Applied Sciences | Waser M.,Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute | Stammler L.,Bern University of Applied Sciences | Schuster C.,Reha Rheinfelden
Gait and Posture | Year: 2012

Background: Neurological disorders lead to walking disabilities, which are often treated using robot-assisted gait training (RAGT) devices such as the driven gait-orthosis Lokomat. A novel integrated biofeedback system was developed to facilitate therapeutically desirable activities during walking. The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility to detect changes during RAGT by using this novel biofeedback approach in a clinical setting for patients with central neurological disorders. Methods: 84 subjects (50 men and 34 women, mean age of 58. ±. 13. years) were followed over 8 RAGT sessions. Outcome measures were biofeedback values as weighted averages of torques measured in the joint drives and independent parameters such as guidance force, walking speed, patient coefficient, session duration, time between sessions and total treatment time. Results: Joint segmented analysis showed significant trends for decreasing hip flexion activity (. p≤. .003) and increasing knee extension activity (. p≤. .001) during RAGT sessions with an intercorrelation of . r=. -.43 (. p≤. .001). Further associations among independent variables were not statistically significant. Conclusion: This is the first study that evaluates the Lokomat integrated biofeedback system in different neurological disorders in a clinical setting. Results suggest that this novel biofeedback approach used in this study is not able to detect progress during RAGT. These findings should be taken into account when refining existing or developing new biofeedback strategies in RAGT relating to appropriate systems to evaluate progress and support therapist feedback in clinical settings. © 2011 Elsevier B.V..


Wondrusch C.,ZHAW Zurich University of Applied Sciences | Schuster-Amft C.,Reha Rheinfelden | Schuster-Amft C.,Bern University of Applied Sciences
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience | Year: 2013

Background: For patients with central nervous system (CNS) lesions and sensorimotor impairments a solid motor imagery (MI) introduction is crucial to understand and use MI to improve motor performance. The study's aim was to develop and evaluate a standardized MI group introduction program (MIIP) for patients after stroke, multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson's disease (PD), and traumatic brain injury (TBI). Methods: Phase 1: Based on literature a MIIP was developed comprising MI theory (definition, type, mode, perspective, planning) and MI practice (performance, control). Phase 2: Development of a 27-item self-administered MIIP evaluation questionnaire, assessing MI knowledge self-evaluation of the ability to perform MI and patient satisfaction with the MIIP. Phase 3: Evaluation of MIIP and MI questionnaire by 2 independent MI experts based on predefined criteria and 2 patients using semi-structured interviews. Phase 4: Case series with a pre-post design to evaluate MIIP (3 × 30 min) using the MI questionnaire, Imaprax, Kinaesthetic and Visual Imagery Questionnaire, and Mental Chronometry. The paired t-test and the Wilcoxon signed-rank test were used to determine significant changes. Results: Data of eleven patients were analysed (5 females; age 62.3 ± 14.1 years). Declarative MI knowledge improved significantly from 5.4 ± 2.2 to 8.8 ± 2.9 (p = 0.010). Patients demonstrated good satisfaction with MIIP (mean satisfaction score: 83.2 ± 11.4%). MI ability remained on a high level but showed no significant change, except a significant decrease in the Kinaesthetic and Visual Imagery Questionnaire score. Conclusion: The presented MIIP seems to be valid and feasible for patients with CNS lesions and sensorimotor impairments resulting in improved MI knowledge. MIIP sessions can be held in groups of four or less. MI ability and Mental Chronometry remained unchanged after 3 training sessions. © 2013 Wondrusch and Schuster-Amft.


Schuster C.,Reha Rheinfelden | Schuster C.,Oxford Brookes University | Hilfiker R.,University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland | Amft O.,TU Eindhoven | And 9 more authors.
BMC Medicine | Year: 2011

Background: The literature suggests a beneficial effect of motor imagery (MI) if combined with physical practice, but detailed descriptions of MI training session (MITS) elements and temporal parameters are lacking. The aim of this review was to identify the characteristics of a successful MITS and compare these for different disciplines, MI session types, task focus, age, gender and MI modification during intervention.Methods: An extended systematic literature search using 24 databases was performed for five disciplines: Education, Medicine, Music, Psychology and Sports. References that described an MI intervention that focused on motor skills, performance or strength improvement were included. Information describing 17 MITS elements was extracted based on the PETTLEP (physical, environment, timing, task, learning, emotion, perspective) approach. Seven elements describing the MITS temporal parameters were calculated: study duration, intervention duration, MITS duration, total MITS count, MITS per week, MI trials per MITS and total MI training time.Results: Both independent reviewers found 96% congruity, which was tested on a random sample of 20% of all references. After selection, 133 studies reporting 141 MI interventions were included. The locations of the MITS and position of the participants during MI were task-specific. Participants received acoustic detailed MI instructions, which were mostly standardised and live. During MI practice, participants kept their eyes closed. MI training was performed from an internal perspective with a kinaesthetic mode. Changes in MI content, duration and dosage were reported in 31 MI interventions. Familiarisation sessions before the start of the MI intervention were mentioned in 17 reports. MI interventions focused with decreasing relevance on motor-, cognitive- and strength-focused tasks. Average study intervention lasted 34 days, with participants practicing MI on average three times per week for 17 minutes, with 34 MI trials. Average total MI time was 178 minutes including 13 MITS. Reporting rate varied between 25.5% and 95.5%.Conclusions: MITS elements of successful interventions were individual, supervised and non-directed sessions, added after physical practice. Successful design characteristics were dominant in the Psychology literature, in interventions focusing on motor and strength-related tasks, in interventions with participants aged 20 to 29 years old, and in MI interventions including participants of both genders. Systematic searching of the MI literature was constrained by the lack of a defined MeSH term. © 2011 Schuster et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Klamroth-Marganska V.,ETH Zurich | Klamroth-Marganska V.,University of Zürich | Blanco J.,Zurcher Hohenkliniken | Campen K.,Zentrum fur Ambulante Rehabilitation | And 16 more authors.
The Lancet Neurology | Year: 2014

Background: Arm hemiparesis secondary to stroke is common and disabling. We aimed to assess whether robotic training of an affected arm with ARMin-an exoskeleton robot that allows task-specific training in three dimensions-reduces motor impairment more effectively than does conventional therapy. Methods: In a prospective, multicentre, parallel-group randomised trial, we enrolled patients who had had motor impairment for more than 6 months and moderate-to-severe arm paresis after a cerebrovascular accident who met our eligibility criteria from four centres in Switzerland. Eligible patients were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive robotic or conventional therapy using a centre-stratified randomisation procedure. For both groups, therapy was given for at least 45 min three times a week for 8 weeks (total 24 sessions). The primary outcome was change in score on the arm (upper extremity) section of the Fugl-Meyer assessment (FMA-UE). Assessors tested patients immediately before therapy, after 4 weeks of therapy, at the end of therapy, and 16 weeks and 34 weeks after start of therapy. Assessors were masked to treatment allocation, but patients, therapists, and data analysts were unmasked. Analyses were by modified intention to treat. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00719433. Findings: Between May 4, 2009, and Sept 3, 2012, 143 individuals were tested for eligibility, of whom 77 were eligible and agreed to participate. 38 patients assigned to robotic therapy and 35 assigned to conventional therapy were included in analyses. Patients assigned to robotic therapy had significantly greater improvements in motor function in the affected arm over the course of the study as measured by FMA-UE than did those assigned to conventional therapy (F=4·1, p=0·041; mean difference in score 0·78 points, 95% CI 0·03-1·53). No serious adverse events related to the study occurred. Interpretation: Neurorehabilitation therapy including task-oriented training with an exoskeleton robot can enhance improvement of motor function in a chronically impaired paretic arm after stroke more effectively than conventional therapy. However, the absolute difference between effects of robotic and conventional therapy in our study was small and of weak significance, which leaves the clinical relevance in question. Funding: Swiss National Science Foundation and Bangerter-Rhyner Stiftung. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


Schuster C.,Reha Rheinfelden | Maunz G.,Private Practice | Lutz K.,Reha Rheinfelden | Kischka U.,Reha Rheinfelden | And 4 more authors.
Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair | Year: 2011

Background. For early inpatient stroke rehabilitation, the effectiveness of amphetamine combined with physiotherapy varies across studies. Objective. To investigate whether the recovery of activities of daily living (ADL, primary outcome) and motor function (secondary outcome) can be improved by dexamphetamine added to physiotherapy. Methods. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 16 patients, from 918 who were screened, were randomized to the experimental group (EG, dexamphetamine + physiotherapy) or control group (CG, placebo + physiotherapy). Both groups received multidisciplinary inpatient rehabilitation. Dexamphetamine (10 mg oral) or placebo was administered 2 days per week before physiotherapy. ADL and motor function were measured using the Chedoke-McMaster Stroke Assessment (CMSA) twice during baseline, every week during the 5-week treatment period, and at follow-up 1 week, 6 months, and 12 months after intervention. Results. The majority of ineligible patients had too little paresis, were on anticoagulants, or had a stroke >60 days prior to entry. Participants (EG, n = 7, age 70.3 ± 10 years, 5 women, 37.9 ± 9 days after stroke; CG, n = 9, age 65.2 ± 17 years, 3 women, 40.3 ± 9 days after stroke) did not differ at baseline except for the leg subscale. Analysis of variance from baseline to 1 week follow-up revealed significant improvements in favor of EG for subscales ADL (P =.023) and arm function (P =.020) at end of treatment. No adverse events were detected. Conclusion. In this small trial that was based on prior positive trials, significant gains in ADL and arm function suggest that the dose and timing of dexamphetamine can augment physiotherapy. Effect size calculation suggests inclusion of at least 25 patients per group in future studies (ClinicalTrials.gov number: NCT00572767). © 2011 American Society of Neurorehabilitation.


Findling O.,Reha Rheinfelden | Findling O.,University of Bern | Schuster C.,Reha Rheinfelden | Sellner J.,TU Munich | And 2 more authors.
Gait and Posture | Year: 2011

Objective: This study assessed the addition effect of mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) on the balance control of patients who simultaneously suffered a whiplash associated disorder (WAD). Background: Dizziness is common in patients suffering from whiplash injury with or without a MTBI, but data is lacking about the additional balance problems and dizziness caused by MTBI. Methods: 44 patients with WAD and MTBI and 36 WAD patients without MTBI participated in the study. A dizziness handicap index (DHI) was used to quantify self-perceived handicap. Balance control was assessed using measures of trunk sway for a battery of stance and gait tests. Results: Patients with WAD and MTBI perceived significantly higher dizziness and unsteadiness (higher score in DHI Emotional category) and had greater trunk sway than WAD patients without MTBI for stance tasks and complex gait tasks (e.g. walking up and down stairs). Both groups had greater sway than controls for these tasks. Both groups of patients showed equal reductions in trunk sway with respect to controls for simple gait tasks (e.g. walking while rotating the head). Conclusions: A similar pattern of balance impairment was present in patients with whiplash injury with and without MTBI. However, the impairment was greater for stance and complex gait tasks in WAD patients with MTBI. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.


Schuster C.,Reha Rheinfelden | Hahn S.,Reha Rheinfelden Salinenstrasse | Ettlin T.,Reha Rheinfelden | Ettlin T.,University of Basel
BMC Medical Research Methodology | Year: 2010

Background. Standardised translation and cross-cultural adaptation (TCCA) procedures are vital to describe language translation, cultural adaptation, and to evaluate quality factors of transformed outcome measures. No TCCA procedure for objectively-assessed outcome (OAO) measures exists. Furthermore, no official German version of the Canadian Chedoke Arm and Hand Activity Inventory (CAHAI) is available. Methods. An eight-step for TCCA procedure for OAO was developed (TCCA-OAO) based on the existing TCCA procedure for patient-reported outcomes. The TCCA-OAO procedure was applied to develop a German version of the CAHAI (CAHAI-G). Inter-rater reliability of the CAHAI-G was determined through video rating of CAHAI-G. Validity evaluation of the CAHAI-G was assessed using the Chedoke-McMaster Stroke Assessment (CMSA). All ratings were performed by trained, independent raters. In a cross-sectional study, patients were tested within 31 hours after the initial CAHAI-G scoring, for their motor function level using the subscales for arm and hand of the CMSA. Inpatients and outpatients of the occupational therapy department who experienced a cerebrovascular accident or an intracerebral haemorrhage were included. Results. Performance of 23 patients (mean age 69.4, SD 12.9; six females; mean time since stroke onset: 1.5 years, SD 2.5 years) have been assessed. A high inter-rater reliability was calculated with ICCs for 4 CAHAI-G versions (13, 9, 8, 7 items) ranging between r = 0.96 and r = 0.99 (p < 0.001). Correlation between the CAHAI-G and CMSA subscales for hand and arm was r = 0.74 (p < 0.001) and r = 0.67 (p < 0.001) respectively. Internal consistency of the CAHAI-G for all four versions ranged between = 0.974 and = 0.979. Conclusions. The TCCA-OAO procedure was validated regarding its feasibility and applicability for objectively-assessed outcome measures. The resulting German CAHAI can be used as a valid and reliable assessment for bilateral upper limb performance in ADL in patients after stroke. © 2010 Schuster et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


McCaskey M.A.,Reha Rheinfelden | Schuster-Amft C.,Reha Rheinfelden | Wirth B.,Reha Rheinfelden | Suica Z.,Reha Rheinfelden | de Bruin E.D.,Reha Rheinfelden
BMC musculoskeletal disorders | Year: 2014

BACKGROUND: Proprioceptive training (PrT) is popularly applied as preventive or rehabilitative exercise method in various sports and rehabilitation settings. Its effect on pain and function is only poorly evaluated. The aim of this systematic review was to summarise and analyse the existing data on the effects of PrT on pain alleviation and functional restoration in patients with chronic (≥ 3 months) neck- or back pain.METHODS: Relevant electronic databases were searched from their respective inception to February 2014. Randomised controlled trials comparing PrT with conventional therapies or inactive controls in patients with neck- or low back pain were included. Two review authors independently screened articles and assessed risk of bias (RoB). Data extraction was performed by the first author and crosschecked by a second author. Quality of findings was assessed and rated according to GRADE guidelines. Pain and functional status outcomes were extracted and synthesised qualitatively and quantitatively.CONCLUSIONS: There are few relevant good quality studies on proprioceptive exercises. A descriptive summary of the evidence suggests that there is no consistent benefit in adding PrT to neck- and low back pain rehabilitation and functional restoration.RESULTS: In total, 18 studies involving 1380 subjects described interventions related to PrT (years 1994-2013). 6 studies focussed on neck-, 12 on low back pain. Three main directions of PrT were identified: Discriminatory perceptive exercises with somatosensory stimuli to the back (pPrT, n=2), multimodal exercises on labile surfaces (mPrT, n=13), or joint repositioning exercise with head-eye coordination (rPrT, n=3). Comparators entailed usual care, home based training, educational therapy, strengthening, stretching and endurance training, or inactive controls. Quality of studies was low and RoB was deemed moderate to high with a high prevalence of unclear sequence generation and group allocation (>60%). Low quality evidence suggests PrT may be more effective than not intervening at all. Low quality evidence suggests that PrT is no more effective than conventional physiotherapy. Low quality evidence suggests PrT is inferior to educational and behavioural approaches.

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