Results Summary

PCORI funded the Pilot Projects to explore how to conduct and use patient-centered outcomes research in ways that can better serve patients and the healthcare community. Learn more.


After a stroke, some people have a hard time using their arms or hands. This can make it hard for them to do everyday activities and enjoy life. A type of movement therapy can help people who have had a stroke to use their arms and hands more easily. However, many patients can’t get the therapy because they don’t live near a place that offers it.

Project Purpose

This study had three goals:

  • To see if using a video game, with a little supervision from a therapist, helped people after a stroke
  • To see how much the video game helped people recover use of their arms and hands
  • To see if the game-based movement therapy worked differently depending on the other types of problems patients had after a stroke, like trouble thinking clearly or limited feeling in their hands


Sixteen people participated in the study. All participants had experienced weakness in one arm or hand for at least six months, but they could move their arms at least a little bit. The participants had never had this type of movement therapy before the study, and they hadn’t received Botox injections in the 12 weeks before the study. (Botox injections are sometimes used to reduce spasms in people who have had a stroke.) During the three-week study period, the participants didn’t get any other kind of therapy to treat their arm weakness. The participants had to be willing to wear a special glove to play the video game.

During the study, participants got the movement therapy at home by playing a video game. Participants played the video game on their own and talked with a therapist as needed.

Researchers gave participants three physical tests to measure how well they could use their arms and hands before they played the video game. They gave participants the tests again after they played the video game.

The researchers also looked at how helpful the movement therapy was for the participants who had other stroke-related problems, like such as trouble thinking clearly or limited feeling in their hands.


The study found that playing the video game helped participants to move their arms and hands more easily. The game also helped improve feeling in the arms and hands of some participants. The video game was safe to use at home without a therapist present, and participants liked the video game.

People who had memory and thinking problems from their stroke improved their arm and hand movements less than other participants.

Researchers learned that participants didn’t do all of the suggested tasks in the video game. Participants also didn’t like using the special glove that was part of the therapy because it was hard to put on and take off, and it got dirty. That meant that some patients in the study did not complete the full amount of movement therapy. As a result, participants in this study didn’t improve their arm and hand movement as much as people usually do when they get the therapy with a therapist.


Only a few people participated in the study, and not all participants played the same version of the video game. The study results could be different with more participants.


This project provided information to help researchers plan studies using movement therapy at home and to determine whether movement therapy would be a good way to help people move their arms and hands more easily after having a stroke. Home-based therapy is especially important for patients who can’t easily get to therapy appointments. Additional work needs to be done to make the video game easier to use.

More to Explore...

Dissemination Activities

Through limited competition, PCORI awarded 25 of the 50 Pilot Projects up to $50,000 to support dissemination and implementation of their activities and findings through the PCORI Pilot Project Learning Network (PPPLN) funding. The deliverables listed below are a result of convenings and conferences supported by this funding, whose efforts align with the PCORI strategic goal of disseminating information and encouraging adoption of PCORI-funded research results.

Period: November 2015 to January 2016
Budget: $50,000

  • Created a video series that describes the research behind CI therapy
  • Created a more user-friendly version of Recovery Rapids, the software product featured in the educational videos that delivers CI therapy in home

Project Information

Lynne V. Gauthier, PhD
The Ohio State University
A Low-Cost Virtual Reality Gaming Platform for Neurorehabilitation of Hemiparesis

Key Dates

June 2012
December 2014

Study Registration Information


Has Results
Award Type
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State State The state where the project originates, or where the primary institution or organization is located. View Glossary
Last updated: March 4, 2022