POSTURAL CONTROL CHANGES IN CVA PATIENTS A FUNCTION OF SUPRAPOSTURAL ATTENTIONAL FOCUS

McNevin, N H.1; Wulf, G1

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise:
G-15I Free Communication/Thematic Poster Balance/Posture
Author Information

1Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, and University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Nevada

(Sponsor: Mariane M. Fahlman, FACSM)

Article Outline

Recent studies have demonstrated that directing neuroligically intact performers' attention to the effects of their movements (external focus) enhances motor performance and learning, while directing their attention to the movements themselves (internal focus) disrupts automatic control processes. Neuroligically impaired patients, however, are often provided internal focus instructions during rehabilitation, and the question arises whether such instructions help or hinder the re-acquisition of certain motor skills.

Back to Top | Article Outline

PURPOSE

To examine whether the attentional focus adopted on a supra-postural task influenced the postural control of stroke patients.

Back to Top | Article Outline

METHODS

Participants were instructed to stand quietly while lightly touching a curtain with their fingertips and asked to minimize movements of the fingers (internal focus) or to minimize movements of the sheet (external focus). Postural sway was measured via an AMTI force platform system.

Back to Top | Article Outline

RESULTS

Both attentional focus conditions resulted in decreased postural sway relative to baseline, however, only the internal focus instructions elicited a corresponding increase in frequency of responding (as assessed via Fast Fourier analysis).

Back to Top | Article Outline

CONCLUSION

Unlike previous studies which found enhanced performance under external focus conditions, these results suggest that for neuroligically impaired patients, an internal focus might be an appropriate treatment strategy.

©2003The American College of Sports Medicine