Evidence for SENSe Therapy

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SENSe has been developed over the past 25 years by Professor Leeanne Carey and colleagues. A series of studies has been conducted to investigate the effectiveness of SENSe therapy, with some examples outlined below.

SENSe: Study of the Effectiveness of Neurorehabilitation of Sensation: A Randomised Controlled Trial (Carey et al., 2011)

The SENSe program was investigated in 50 stroke survivors using a randomised control trial (RCT) design (Carey et al., 2011). Between-group comparisons revealed a significantly greater improvement in sensory capacity following sensory discrimination training. Improvements were maintained at 6-week and 6-month follow-ups. Findings provide evidence that retraining can assist stroke survivors to regain somatosensation in texture, proprioception, and tactual object recognition modalities immediately after treatment and in the longer term. The intervention effect was well maintained at the 6-month follow up for those that received immediate or delayed.

Reference: Carey, L.M., Macdonell, R., & Matyas, T. (2011). SENSe: Study of the Effectiveness of Neurorehabilitation on Sensation. A randomized controlled trial. Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair, 25, 304-313.

To read more information on the SENSe RCT study, please click below:
Link to Paper: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1545968310397705

Training of Somatosensory Discrimination after Stroke: Facilitation of Stimulus Generalisation (Carey & Matyas, 2005)

This study showed the SENSe program is effective in enabling stroke survivors to transfer somatosensory skills to untrained sensory tasks using training principles designed to facilitate transfer of training effects. 

Reference: Carey, L.M., & Matyas, T.A. (2005). Training of somatosensory discrimination after stroke: Facilitation of stimulus generalization. American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 84(6), 428-442.

Link to Paper: https://journals.lww.com/ajpmr/Fulltext/2005/06000/Training_of_Somatosensory_Discrimination_After.6.aspx

Sensory Loss in Stroke Patients: Effective Training of Tactile and Proprioceptive Discrimination (Carey et al., 1993)

Results demonstrating the effectiveness of the SENSe approach to sensory rehabilitation were first published in 1993. The study involved a series of controlled single case experiments. The results indicated that the SENSe program helped stroke survivors improve their sensory discrimination skills and was promising as a program for sensory rehabilitation after stroke. For further information, please see below.

Reference: Carey, L. M., Matyas, T. A., & Oke, L. E. (1993). Sensory loss in stroke patients: effective training of tactile and proprioceptive discrimination. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 74(6), 602-611.

Link to pdf of paper: Carey et al., 1993 (with permission). 

Meta-analysis of training effects (Carey, 2006)

Systematic development of the approach is supported by a meta-analysis of 30 single-case experiments, as summarized in Carey, 2006. This includes demonstration of stimulus specific training effects in 37/41 time series. Effectiveness of training was demonstrated for tactile discrimination single case experiments (tactile z = -8.6, p < 0.0001) and for training limb position sense (Proprioception: z = -4.3, p < 0.0001). Stimulus Generalization training effects were replicated in 8/11 time series, across 11 stroke survivors for texture discrimination training (tactile: z = -5.7, p < 0.0001). Improvements were maintained at 3-5 month follow-up.

Reference: Carey, L.M. (2006). Loss of somatic sensation. In M. Selzer, S. Clarke, L. Cohen, P. Duncan, & F. H. Gage (Eds.), Textbook of Neural Repair and Rehabilitation (Vol II. Medical Rehabilitation, pp. 231-247). Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.

Change in functional arm use is associated with somatosensory skill after SENSe training (Turville et al., 2017)

The aim was to investigate if stroke survivors’ change in functional arm use over the period of sensory retraining impacted on somatosensory recovery following sensory discrimination retraining. This will help clinicians know if functional arm use can change with somatosensory discrimination retraining, and how this change may or may not impact on somatosensory recovery following treatment. A change in functional arm use was observed (n=80) and appears to have a small, yet important influence on somatosensory recovery post-treatment. Such research suggests that individual differences in the capacity to change functional arm use should be encouraged within a program designed to retrain somatosensory following stroke.

Reference: Turville, M., Carey, L.M., Matyas, T.A., & Blennerhassett, J. (2017). Change in functional arm use is associated with somatosensory skills after sensory retraining poststroke. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 71(3), 1-9.

For further information, the published article can be accessed here:

Link to Paper: https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2017.024950

Initial Severity of Somatosensory Impairment Influences Response to Upper Limb Sensory Retraining Post-Stroke (Turville et al., 2018)

The impact of initial severity of somatosensory impairment was investigated in a pooled sample of 80 stroke survivors with varying sensory impairment. Findings revealed that:

  • Post-treatment somatosensory improvement patterns were proportional to the extent of initial pre-treatment somatosensory impairment
  • Survivors with severe impairment can benefit from SENSe therapy

Reference: Turville, M, Matyas, T., Blennerhassett, J.M. & Carey, L.M. (2018). Initial severity of somatosensory impairment influences response to upper limb sensory retraining post-stroke. NeuroRehabilitation, 43(4), 413-423.

Link to Paper: https://content.iospress.com/articles/neurorehabilitation/nre182439

For more information about SENSe research, please visit our Research page.