Grace Kim Publishes Research on Robotics to Improve Hand Function in Stroke Patients

Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy Grace Kim‘s study Photo of Grace Kim Randomized Trial on the Effects of Attentional Focus on Motor Training of the Upper Extremity Using Robotics With Individuals After Chronic Stroke was recently published in the journal Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. The study is also co-authored by NYU Steinhardt’s Mitchell Batavia, Associate Professor in the department of Physical Therapy, and Jim Hinojosa, Professor Emeritus in the department of Occupational Therapy.

The study focused on individuals with stroke and moderate-to-severe arm impairment living in the community. The individuals participated in a four-week arm training protocol on a robotic device in an outpatient clinic.

Highlights of the study include:

•Participants improved on motor outcomes after engaging in high-repetition robotics arm training.

•There were no differences between external focus or internal focus of attention on retention of motor skills after 4 weeks of arm training.

•Individuals with moderate-to-severe arm impairment may not experience the advantages of an external focus during motor training found in healthy individuals.

•Attentional focus is most likely not an active ingredient for retention of trained motor skills for individuals with moderate-to-severe arm impairment.