Contralateral hand anesthesia transiently improves poststroke sensory deficits

Authors

  • Bernhard Voller MD,

    1. Human Cortical Physiology Section, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD
    2. Department of Neurology, Medical University of Vienna, Austria
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Agnes Flöel MD,

    1. Human Cortical Physiology Section, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD
    2. Department of Neurology, University of Münster, Münster, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Konrad J. Werhahn MD,

    1. Human Cortical Physiology Section, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD
    2. Department of Neurology, University of Mainz, Mainz, Germany
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Shashi Ravindran MPH,

    1. Human Cortical Physiology Section, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Carolyn W. Wu PhD,

    1. Human Cortical Physiology Section, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Leonardo G. Cohen MD

    Corresponding author
    1. Human Cortical Physiology Section, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD
    • Human Cortical Physiology Section, NINDS, NIH, Building 10/5N226, 10 Center Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Objective

To test a possible strategy to alleviate somatosensory deficits after stroke.

Methods

Here, we applied ischemic nerve block to the intact hand of patients with chronic stroke, which in healthy subjects elicits improvements in sensibility of the other hand.

Results

We found that sensibility in the affected hand improved with intact hand anesthesia, but not with intact foot anesthesia or no anesthesia.

Interpretation

We conclude that reduction of sensory input from the intact hand leads to site-specific improvements in tactile discriminative skills in the affected hand after the period of anesthesia, a potentially relevant finding in designing neurorehabilitative interventions. Ann Neurol 2006

Ancillary