Emerging evidence of the association between cognitive deficits and arm motor recovery after stroke: A meta-analysis

Aditi A. Mullick, Sandeep K. Subramanian, Mindy F. Levin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Purpose: Motor and cognitive impairments are common and often coexist in patients with stroke. Although evidence is emerging about specific relationships between cognitive deficits and upper-limb motor recovery, the practical implication of these relationships for rehabilitation is unclear. Using a structured review and meta-analyses, we examined the nature and strength of the associations between cognitive deficits and upper-limb motor recovery in studies of patients with stroke. Methods: Motor recovery was defined using measures of upper limb motor impairment and/or activity limitations. Studies were included if they reported on at least one measure of cognitive function and one measure of upper limb motor impairment or function. Results: Six studies met the selection criteria. There was a moderate association (r = 0.43; confidence interval; CI:0.09-0.68, p = 0.014) between cognition and overall arm motor recovery. Separate meta-analyses showed a moderately strong association between executive function and motor recovery (r = 0.48; CI:0.26-0.65; p 0.001), a weak positive correlation between attention and motor recovery (r = 0.25; CI:0.04-0.45; p = 0.023), and no correlation between memory and motor recovery (r = 0.42; CI:0.16-0.79; p = 0.14). Conclusion: These results imply that information on the presence of cognitive deficits should be considered while planning interventions for clients in order to design more personalized interventions tailored to the individual for maximizing upper-limb recovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-403
Number of pages15
JournalRestorative Neurology and Neuroscience
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 17 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Motor learning
  • cognition
  • rehabilitation
  • upper limb

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


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