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The Stroke Special Interest Group (SIG) focuses on empowering our members to optimize movement system performance for those impacted by stroke. 

In keeping in line with the ANPT strategic areas, we are working to improve care for persons post-stroke by;

1. Translation evidence into practice to ensure high value care with input from practitioners to inform future research; 

2. Communicating with ANPT and with providers of physical therapy; 

3. Communicating and collaborating with external stakeholders in ways that are sustainable, effective, and accessible. 

Get Involved!

2018 Nominations are being accepted for Stroke SIG. Positions available for Nominating committee and Secretary. If you wish to get involved, apply here (must be a member). Feel free to contact a current officer about details, etc. deadline March 15, 2018.


Stroke SIG



Heather Hayes, DPT, NCS, PhD (Term 2017-2020)


Vice chair

Jamie Haines, PT, DScPT, NCS (Term 2016-2019)



Maureen Whitford, PT, PhD, NCS (Term 2015-2018)


Nominating committee chair     

Alexandra Borstad, PT, PhD, NCS (Term: 2015-2018)



Committee member: Mark Stephens, PT, DPT, NCS (Term 2016-2019)


Amelia Siles, PT, DPT, NCS (Term 2017-2020)


other members     

Karen Zacharewicz, PT, DPT, NCS





News and Research


Stroke and Nutrition: A Review of Studies

Foroughi M, Akhavanzanjani M, Maghsoudi Z, Ghiasvand R, Khorvash F, Askari G. Stroke and nutrition: a review of studies. Int J Prev Med. 2013;4(Suppl 2):S165-179.

BACKGROUND: Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and certainly the major cause of disability in the world. Diet and nutrient has an effective role in prevention and control of the risk of stroke. The aim of this study was to review the studies on the relationship between dietary intake and stroke incidence. METHODS: In this study, the terms of "Fat", "cholesterol", "antioxidant", "vitamins", "salt", "potassium", "calcium", "carbohydrate", "vegetables", "fruits", "meat", "tea", "whole grains", "sugar-sweetened beverages", "Mediterranean diet", "dietary approaches to stop hypertension diet (DASH diet)", "Western diet", and "stroke" were searched in Pubmed search engine. The observational studies, cohort studies, clinical trial studies, systemic review, and meta-analysis reviews are also included in this study. RESULTS: The study revealed that adherence to the improvements in nutrition and diet can reduce the incidence of stroke. Higher antioxidant, vitamins, potassium, calcium, vegetables, fruits, whole grain intake, and adherence to the Mediterranean diet or DASH diet can lower stroke incidence. CONCLUSIONS: Adherence to Mediterranean diet or DASH diet and increasing the consumption of antioxidant, vitamins, potassium, calcium food sources, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains intake can lower the risk of stroke. Healthy diet is effective in reducing risk of stroke, however, more studies need to be carried out in this area.



Find/share healthy recipes for the holidays at the American Heart/Stroke Association.

Understand the role of PT and nutrition from the APTA guidelines.

Break up with salt, can it be done over the holidays? 


The Clinical Guidelines for Stroke Management 2017 can be found on the InformMe website, the Stroke Foundation's dedicated website for health professionals.


Sleep Health Promotion: Practical Information for Physical Therapists

Sleep disturbances occur in one third of the US population, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control has deemed insufficient sleep to be a public health problem. Knowledge about sleep and skills to screen sleep disorders and to promote sleep health have been recommended for physical therapists. Furthermore, in survey studies, physical therapists overwhelmingly agree that sleep is important for health and poor sleep impairs function. Sleep is critical for the proper functioning of the body, including immune function, tissue healing, pain modulation, cardiovascular health, cognitive function, and learning and memory. Sleep disruptions occur across the life span and in individuals with various conditions that are typically treated by physical therapists. Therefore, the purpose of this perspective paper is to (1) discuss the relevance of sleep to physical therapist practice, (2) recommend tools to screen for the 3 most common sleep disorders, and (3) provide suggestions for how therapists can integrate sleep health in prevention, health promotion, and wellness interventions.

Siengsukon, C. F., et al. (2017). "Sleep Health Promotion: Practical Information for Physical Therapists." PHYS THER 97(8): 826-836.


Guidelines for Adult Stroke Rehabilitation and Recovery: A Guideline for Healthcare Professionals From the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association

Winstein CJ, Stein J, Arena R, et al. Guidelines for Adult Stroke Rehabilitation and Recovery: A Guideline for Healthcare Professionals From the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke. 2016;47(6):e98-e169.

PURPOSE: The aim of this guideline is to provide a synopsis of best clinical practices in the rehabilitative care of adults recovering from stroke. METHODS: Writing group members were nominated by the committee chair on the basis of their previous work in relevant topic areas and were approved by the American Heart Association (AHA) Stroke Council's Scientific Statement Oversight Committee and the AHA's Manuscript Oversight Committee. The panel reviewed relevant articles on adults using computerized searches of the medical literature through 2014. The evidence is organized within the context of the AHA framework and is classified according to the joint AHA/American College of Cardiology and supplementary AHA methods of classifying the level of certainty and the class and level of evidence. The document underwent extensive AHA internal and external peer review, Stroke Council Leadership review, and Scientific Statements Oversight Committee review before consideration and approval by the AHA Science Advisory and Coordinating Committee. RESULTS: Stroke rehabilitation requires a sustained and coordinated effort from a large team, including the patient and his or her goals, family and friends, other caregivers (eg, personal care attendants), physicians, nurses, physical and occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, recreation therapists, psychologists, nutritionists, social workers, and others. Communication and coordination among these team members are paramount in maximizing the effectiveness and efficiency of rehabilitation and underlie this entire guideline. Without communication and coordination, isolated efforts to rehabilitate the stroke survivor are unlikely to achieve their full potential. CONCLUSIONS: As systems of care evolve in response to healthcare reform efforts, postacute care and rehabilitation are often considered a costly area of care to be trimmed but without recognition of their clinical impact and ability to reduce the risk of downstream medical morbidity resulting from immobility, depression, loss of autonomy, and reduced functional independence. The provision of comprehensive rehabilitation programs with adequate resources, dose, and duration is an essential aspect of stroke care and should be a priority in these redesign efforts. 



Repetitive Training Can Help With Walking After Stroke

Repetitive training that simulates everyday leg function can help people walk more easily after stroke, according to a news article from Health Behavior News Service, reporting on a new review of studies in The Cochrane Library. Practicing everyday tasks resulted in modest gains in walking speed, walking distance, and patients' ability to stand up, the review found.

The therapy typically lasted for 1-hour sessions, three to five times a week for 6 to 8 weeks. Researchers tested both arm and leg mobility in the studies, but the review only found significant improvements for lower limb function. Moreover, it is not clear if the gains in leg mobility were permanent. The analyzed studies included a mix of patients, people who had had a stroke recently and those who had a stroke years in the past. Both groups of patients experienced similar health gains.

"People who had repetitive task training were able to go 50 meters farther in 6 minutes compared to people who hadn't," said lead review author Beverley French, a senior research fellow at the University of Central Lancashire in England. In the real world that distance equates to being able to cross an intersection while the walk sign remains lit or to go from a parking lot into a grocery store, she said.

The review gathers evidence from 14 trials with more than 650 study participants. In the studies, patients repeatedly practiced everyday tasks or the movements associated with the tasks, like buttoning clothes, walking up steps, reaching for items on shelves or standing up from sitting. "The idea of repeatedly practicing tasks is based on the thought that you can re-pattern the damaged brain," French said.

The analysis found that repetitive task training is effective -- and does result in health gains for stroke patients -- but did not determine whether the approach is better than other rehabilitation interventions. French said that repetitive task training is not a method of therapy; rather, many therapies can incorporate the technique as "an underpinning for everything a therapist does with a patient."

APTA Issue Brief: Stroke

The Issue Brief Series provides brief background on particular issues and highlights a PT's role for each topic covered as well as particular policy challenges.

 APTA Issue Brief: Healthcare Needs for Prevention of and Recovery from Stroke

AHA Physical Activity and Exercise Recommendations for Stroke Survivors

Physical activity remains a cornerstone in the current armamentarium of risk-reduction therapies for the prevention and treatment of stroke. [Read More]

Contact Us

Julia Castleberry, MS PT, DPT, CLT, GCS, NCS

Heather Hayes, DPT, PhD, NCS


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