Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in Europe and United States and the second
leading cause of death worldwide and affects more than 10,000 Danes each year.
Studies in a late and stationary phase after stroke have shown that physical rehabilitation
is of great importance for survival and physical ability of these patients, however many
studies show that patients lie or sit next to their bed under hospitalization for more than
88.5 % of the daily hours. Physical activity in stroke patients has never previously been
measured immediately after debut of symptoms; furthermore there is no knowledge about the
optimal dose of physical rehabilitation for these patients.
Accelerometers, small measuring devices, are a relatively new way to measure physical
activity precisely, and hence it is possible to obtain an objective measure of how active
stroke patients are in the first week after admission. The accelerometers measure a variable
voltage, depending on the range and intensity of movement. They can measure movement
dependent of the placement of the accelerometer, for instance over the hip, arm or leg.
Studies confirm their reliability, even in patients with abnormal gait, such as stroke
Another approach of studying the effects of physical activity and rehabilitation is through
the examination of biomarkers. Studies have shown that biomarkers released during physical
activity can inhibit biomarkers released after tissue injury in the brain, as seen after
stroke. These brain biomarkers cause further damage and studies show that the higher the
levels, the higher the damage. It is therefore obvious to examine whether physical activity
rehabilitation can down regulate this destructive process in patients with stroke.
Clarification of the optimal dose of physical activity in stroke patients immediately after
debut of symptoms and examination of both the biochemical aspects of physical rehabilitation
as well as the optimal dose of physical rehabilitation is of great importance for many
patients, their relatives as well as of a great socioeconomic importance.
The purpose of the project is to investigate which dose (15 vs. 2 x 30 minutes) of physical
activity on a weight-bearing treadmill in the first 5 days after admission after an ischemic
stroke, gives patients the best improvement in neurological dysfunction.