Does stroke rehabilitation really matter? Part B: An algorithm for prescribing an effective intensity of rehabilitation

Matthew Strider Jeffers, Sudhir Karthikeyan, Mariana Gomez-Smith, Sara Gasinzigwa, Jannis Achenbach, Astrid Feiten, Dale Corbett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Background. The proportional recovery rule suggests that current rehabilitation practices may have limited ability to influence stroke recovery. However, the appropriate intensity of rehabilitation needed to achieve recovery remains unknown. Similarities between rodent and human recovery biomarkers may allow determination of rehabilitation thresholds necessary to activate endogenous biological recovery processes. Objective. We determined the relative influence that clinically relevant biomarkers of stroke recovery exert on functional outcome. These biomarkers were then used to generate an algorithm that prescribes individualized intensities of rehabilitation necessary for recovery of function. Methods. A retrospective cohort of 593 male Sprague-Dawley rats was used to identify biomarkers that best predicted poststroke change in pellet retrieval in the Montoya staircase-reaching task using multiple linear regression. Prospective manipulation of these factors using endothelin-1-induced stroke (n = 49) was used to validate the model. Results. Rehabilitation was necessary to reliably predict recovery across the continuum of stroke severity. As infarct volume and initial impairment increased, more intensive rehabilitation was required to engage recovery. In this model, we prescribed the specific dose of daily rehabilitation required for rats to achieve significant motor recovery using the biomarkers of initial poststroke impairment and infarct volume. Conclusions. Our algorithm demonstrates an individualized approach to stroke rehabilitation, wherein imaging and functional performance measures can be used to develop an optimized rehabilitation paradigm for rats, particularly those with severe impairments. Exploring this approach in human patients could lead to an increase in the proportion of individuals experiencing recovery of lost motor function poststroke.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-83
Number of pages11
JournalNeurorehabilitation and Neural Repair
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • stroke
  • biomarkers
  • stroke rehabilitation
  • patient-specific modeling
  • rats
  • precision medicine


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