Phase I Safety Trial: Extended Daily Peripheral Sensory Stimulation Using a Wrist-Worn Vibrator in Stroke Survivors.
Peripheral sensory stimulation augments post-stroke upper extremity rehabilitation outcomes. Most sensory stimulations interfere with natural hand tasks and the stimulation duration is limited. We developed TheraBracelet, low-level random-frequency vibration applied via a wristwatch, to enable stimulation during hand tasks and potentially extend stimulation durations. To determine safety of prolonged exposure to TheraBracelet. Single-site double-blind crossover randomized controlled trial. Chronic stroke survivors were instructed to wear a device on the affected wrist for > 8 h/day everyday for 2 months while coming to the laboratory weekly for evaluations, with a 2-week break between each month. The device applied vibration at 60% and 1% of the sensory threshold for the real and sham month, respectively. The order of the real and sham months was randomized/balanced. Adverse events (AEs) were assessed weekly, including worsening of hand sensation, dexterity, grip strength, pain, or spasticity and occurrence of skin irritation or swelling. Device-related AE rates were compared between the real and sham month. Twenty-five participants completed the study. Six participants (24%) experienced mild AEs involving worsened sensory scores that may be related to the intervention with reasonable possibility. Two experienced them in the real stimulation month only, 3 in the sham month only, and 1 in both months. Therefore, less participants experienced device-related AEs in the real than sham month. Daily stimulation using the device for a month is safe for chronic stroke survivors. Future studies examining the efficacy of pairing TheraBracelet with therapy for increasing neurorehabilitation outcomes are a logical next step. Trial registration: NCT03318341.
Seo, NJ; Enders, LR; Fortune, A; Cain, S; Vatinno, AA; Schuster, E; Ramakrishnan, V; Feng, W
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