Study Calls for Early Treatment Intervention in Stroke Patients with Spatial Neglect

The following article was recently published in Rehab Today summarizing research published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation supporting early therapy involvement for spatial neglect deficits.

Results from a study conducted by the Kessler Foundation, headquartered in West Orange, NJ, and South Orange, NJ-based Seton Hall University, spotlight the need for early diagnosis of acute spatial neglect following a stroke. Researchers say the complication is associated with accidents, falls, safety problems, and functional disability that slows patient recovery.

Anna Barrett, MD, director of stroke rehabilitation research at Kessler Foundation, reports that the study’s focus on the acute phase and early detection of spatial neglect after stroke “could enable cognitive interventions to improve function, and might even prevent chronic disability.”

Researchers say during the study they observed 51 consecutive inpatients with right brain stroke and left neglect for 22 days following stroke. According to the study, the Behavioral Inattention Test (BIT)-conventional and the Catherine Bergego scale (CBS) were used along with laboratory measures of perceptual-attentional and motor-intentional deficits. The study’s results suggested that these pyschometric assessments might potentially be used to pinpoint specific motor-exploratory deficits in spatial neglect. Obtaining CBS-ME scores routinely, researchers report, may also improve early detection and allow clinicians to implement care and safety interventions. Researchers explain that without specific cognitive rehabilitation, spatial-action deficits may persist and facilitate chronic disability in patients.

Barrett adds that a great deal of effort is funneled into hi-tech approaches, yet the study’s results “show that clinical tools can be optimized for the bedside, to identify patients who need targeted management and therapy.”

The study was published in the Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.

[Source: Kessler Foundation]