Condition category
Circulatory System
Date applied
Date assigned
Last edited
Retrospectively registered
Overall trial status
Recruitment status
No longer recruiting
Publication status

Plain English Summary

Not provided at time of registration

Trial website

Contact information



Primary contact

Dr Jeroen Bergmann


Contact details

Kings College London
United Kingdom

Additional identifiers

EudraCT number number

Protocol/serial number


Study information

Scientific title

Effect of combined somatosensory stimulation and task specific training on upper limb function in chronic stroke patients: a double blind randomised controlled trial


Sensory Stimulation

Study hypothesis

After rehabilitation following a stroke many people recover the ability to walk without assistance, but are very limited in the activities of daily life because of poor recovery in their arm and hand. This loss of function may affect them and their carers and increase their dependency on health and social services. Recent research in both healthy and stroke subjects has indicated that low intensity electrical stimulation of the nerves in the arm, just strong enough to be felt, can lead to changes in the brain and its connection to the stimulated muscles with a resultant improvement in functional performance.

We want to investigate whether this type of stimulation in combination with specific exercise training is better than exercises alone (the current clinical practice) for improving arm function and usage in stroke patients who have stopped improving with rehabilitation.

Subjects and methods:
We will carry out a double blind randomised controlled trial. We will recruit people aged 65 years and above who have had a stroke at least three months previously, and are not currently receiving rehabilitation, able to understand instructions and give consent for the study. Subjects will be randomly allocated to two groups to receive either of two packaged interventions. The intervention will take place three times weekly for four weeks at our laboratory located near London Bridge. We will also explore how the stimulation works using techniques which explore brain and movement function.

Outcome measures:
Several arm function tests such as task performance, strength etc in addition to brain function measurements will be assessed at the beginning, immediately after the training and for 6 months after the training at 3-monthly intervals.

Ethics approval

Guy's Research Ethics Committee approved on the 27th October 2009 (ref: 09/H0804/87)

Study design

Single centre randomised interventional treatment trial

Primary study design


Secondary study design

Randomised controlled trial

Trial setting

GP practices

Trial type


Patient information sheet

Not available in web format, please use the contact details below to request a patient information sheet


Topic: Stroke Research Network; Subtopic: Rehabilitation; Disease: Therapy type


Somatosensory stimulation will be delivered to three arm nerves (ulnar at the medial epicondylar groove of the elbow, median in front of the elbow joint and radial nerve above the lateral epicondyle) in the upper arm using three pairs of self adhesive electrodes (2.5 cm by 2.5 cm). It will be delivered in the laboratory for 2 hours, 3 times each week for 4 weeks using the following dose: 1 ms pulses at 10 Hz, 500 ms on and off. The amplitude will be approximately 3 times feeling threshold.

Intervention type



Not Applicable

Drug names

Primary outcome measure

Change in functional ability of the upper limb arm. Outcome measures will be assessed at beginning and end of the intervention (duration: 4 weeks) and then at 3 and 6 months follow up. A retest will be made within a week of the initial assessment and before the first treatment session in order to establish the stability of the baseline.

Secondary outcome measures

1. Level of dependence in basic activities of daily living (Barthel Index)
2. Hand dexterity by the Block and Block test
3. Real life use of upper limb (Motor Activity Log)
4. Assessment of motor function by the upper limb motor function (FuglMeyer
Motor Assessment)
5. Health related quality of life (36-item Short Form [SF36])
6. Changes in upper limb movement trajectory by 3D motion analysis of upper limb funtion
7. Upper limb spasticity by the Modified Ashworth Scale and Tardieu Scale

Outcome measures will be assessed at beginning and end of the intervention (duration: 4 weeks) and then at 3 and 6 months follow up. A retest will be made within a week of the initial assessment and before the first treatment session in order to establish the stability of the baseline.

Overall trial start date


Overall trial end date


Reason abandoned (if study stopped)


Participant inclusion criteria

1. At least 65 years of age, either sex
2. History of a single ischaemic stroke at least 3 months duration
3. Abbreviated Mental Test Score (AMT) greater than 7
4. Ambulant and able to attend the laboratory
5. Active range of shoulder elevation at least 60 degrees and 10 degrees of wrist extension
6. Passive pain free range of movement (ROM) of at least 75 % of normal in shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand
7.Presence of motor evoked potential (MEPs) in the hand muscles in response to TMS

Participant type


Age group




Target number of participants

Planned sample size: 52; UK sample size: 52

Participant exclusion criteria

1. Currently undergoing a stroke rehabilitation programme
2. Neurologic disorders or infarcts in the vertebrobasilar territory
3. Severe heart or lung disease
4. Severe aphasia (normal score on the Frenchay Aphasia Screening Test)
5. Visuospatial disorders (as screened by the Star cancellation test)
6. Metal in the head, seizures, auditory or cardiac implants, severe spasticity (defined as a score of greater than 3 on the Modified Ashworth Scale [MAS])

Recruitment start date


Recruitment end date



Countries of recruitment

United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

Kings College London
United Kingdom

Sponsor information


Kings College London (UK)

Sponsor details

School of Social Sciences and Public Policy
United Kingdom

Sponsor type




Funder type


Funder name

Dunhill Medical Trust (UK)

Alternative name(s)


Funding Body Type

private sector organisation

Funding Body Subtype

Other non-profit organizations


United Kingdom

Results and Publications

Publication and dissemination plan

Not provided at time of registration

Intention to publish date

Participant level data

Not provided at time of registration

Basic results (scientific)

Publication list

2014 results in:

Publication citations

  1. Results

    Fleming MK, Sorinola IO, Roberts-Lewis SF, Wolfe CD, Wellwood I, Newham DJ, The Effect of Combined Somatosensory Stimulation and Task-Specific Training on Upper Limb Function in Chronic Stroke: A Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial., Neurorehabil Neural Repair, 2014, doi: 10.1177/1545968314533613.

Additional files

Editorial Notes