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Unusual form of proprioceptive facilitation during recovery from hemiplegia



Proprioceptive facilitation (PF) is a phenomenon occasionally seen during motor restoration following acute hemiplegia. At an early stage of recovery, a number of brief passive muscle stretches can facilitate voluntary contraction in the stretched muscles. Here we present a patient who during early recovery from a left hemispheric stroke causing right hemiplegia was able to develop maximum isometric arm force if, during this effort, large-amplitude passive stretches of the elbow were applied as conditioning stimuli. Based on clinical and positron emission tomography findings, possible physiological mechanisms of PF and the role of proprioception in stroke recovery are discussed. © 2006 Movement Disorder Society