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Combined optokinetic stimulation and cueing-assisted reading therapy to treat hemispatial neglect: A randomized controlled crossover trial.

BACKGROUND: Hemispatial neglect is a disabling cognitive disorder following stroke and effective therapies are required.

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the effects of combined optokinetic stimulation (OKS) and cueing-assisted reading therapy (READ) on the remission of hemispatial neglect following stroke.

METHODS: Randomized, controlled, two-period, crossover trial conducted at a German neurorehabilitation center. Twenty participants with left neglect following right hemispheric stroke (mean age 66 years (SD 11), mean time since stroke 50 days (SD 33)) finished the trial (12 received OKSREAD first, 8 CONTROL first). The intervention consisted of 15 daily sessions of OKS (20 min) and text reading assisted by a therapist providing cues (20 min). The control treatment was a same-number, same-length neuropsychological treatment not targeting visuospatial attention. Primary outcomes were the change in performance of a customized neuropsychological test battery for neglect (0% worst - 100% best) and a test of neglect-related functional disability (Catherine Bergego Scale, 0 no impairment - 30 severest impairment), assessed before and after each treatment period. Secondary outcomes were performance in the 6 single tests composing the battery (e.g., omissions in text reading, center of cancellation in the Bells test, spatial bias of fixations when freely viewing photographs) and a clinical test of anosognosia.

RESULTS: Overall performance in the neglect test battery improved slightly more after OKSREAD than after CONTROL (d=6%; p=0.002). The remission of neglect-related functional disability did not differ between treatments (d=-2; p=0.291). Ipsilesional fixation bias during free viewing was the only secondary outcome that was improved by OKSREAD as compared to CONTROL (d= -2.8°; p=0.005).

CONCLUSION: At the applied intensity, the combined OKSREAD intervention slightly attenuated the ipsilesional attention bias in persons with neglect, but it did not improve neglect-related functional disability, anosognosia, or other neglect symptoms to a clinically meaningful degree.


CLINICALTRIALS: gov. Unique identifier: NCT04273620.

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