Monika Ehrensberger

Mirror therapy and unilateral strength training for enhancing motor function after stroke: A pilot randomised controlled trial​ 

Supervisor: Dr. Kenneth Monaghan

Funding Body: President’s Bursary Awards IT Sligo



Both mirror therapy (Thieme et. al. 2012) and cross-education of strength (Dragert & Zehr 2013) have successfully promoted functional recovery post stroke. A recent systematic review by Zult et. al. (2014) shows evidence for the effectiveness of mirror therapy to enhance cross-education of strength for patients after stroke. Recommendations from this review, propose that a combination of unilateral strength training with mirror training can further accelerate functional recovery post stroke.


In this study, we hypothesized that congruent visual feedback and motor imagery from the moving non-paretic upper extremity during unilateral strengthening, as provided by a mirror, would help restore the integrity of cortical processing and thereby restore function in the affected upper extremity during functional movement.

Objectives of the study:

Evaluate the effects of mirror therapy combined with cross education strength on lower-extremity motor recovery and functioning in patients with sub-acute stroke.

  1. Explore how this new combination therapy compares to both placebo and control conditions.
  2. Identify any adverse effects of the new combination therapy.

Design: Randomized, assessor-blinded, 6-week trial, with follow-up at 3 months.

2019/20 Fulltime Prospectus IT Sligo