In a nutshell
This study investigated whether the Italian adaptative physical activity program (APA) for stroke survivors is feasible in the United States. Researchers suggested that this program improves the outcomes of survivors and is feasible in the United states.
Stroke is a leading cause of long-term disability in the US. A stroke happens when blood flow to the brain is cut-off. Brain cells stop receiving oxygen and begin to die. The abilities controlled by those cells are lost leaving stroke survivors with disabilities. These disabilities limit body movement and increase the risk of falls decreasing the overall quality of life.
Prior studies showed that physical exercise improves the gait (walking) and the movement of these patients. It also improves heart and bone health, depression and social isolation.
The Italian APA program consists of a group exercise program that trains walking, strength and balance. This program was associated with significant improvement of stroke complications in stroke survivors. However, it is not clear if this program would work with patients in the United States.
Methods & findings
This study included 76 stroke survivors. All participants had a mild disability for more than 6 months. Of these, 43 received the APA program and 33 received Sittercise (is a seated, upper body exercise program). These patients received therapy for 1 hour, 3 times weekly supervised by exercise teachers.
There were no serious side effects reported. Patients in the APA group improved significantly their walking speed.
The bottom line
This study concluded that the Italian APA program is safe, adequate and low-cost to be applied in the United States.
The fine print
This study had a limited number of participants. Further studies with a bigger population are needed.
Published By :
Neurorehabilitation and neural repair
Jul 11, 2019