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Physical Activity May Improve Post-Stroke Function

Moderate pre-stroke activity associated with higher Barthel Index score at follow-up

FRIDAY, July 17 (HealthDay News) -- Some evidence suggests that getting more physical activity before a stroke may be linked to better functional status afterward, according to research published online July 14 in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

Nicole Stroud, of the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., and colleagues analyzed data from 673 patients. Patients reported their frequency of physical activity during the previous year, and functional status was assessed at enrollment and roughly three months later using the Oxford Handicap Scale, Barthel Index, and Glasgow Outcome Scale.

The researchers found that participants with moderate or high levels of activity were more likely to have higher Barthel Index scores and good outcomes on the Oxford Handicap Scale upon enrollment. At three months, moderate activity was associated with a high Barthel Index score. However, after relevant adjustments, physical activity wasn't significantly associated with the Oxford or Glasgow scales.

"These data show that aerobic physical activity may improve functional status immediately after stroke. We infer that physical activity may have implications in stroke that go beyond the role it has in reversing risk factors. Patients who are active may recover more quickly immediately after a stroke, with trends that point to better outcomes at the three-month follow-up. The amount of activity that may be required to show a positive effect is unknown," the authors write.

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