The SonicHand Protocol for Rehabilitation of Hand Motor Function: A Validation and Feasibility Study

R. Colombo, A. Raglio, M. Panigazzi, A. Mazzone, G. Bazzini, C. Imarisio, D. Molteni, C. Caltagirone, M. Imbriani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Musical sonification therapy is a new technique that can reinforce conventional rehabilitation treatments by increasing therapy intensity and engagement through challenging and motivating exercises. The aim of this paper is to evaluate the feasibility and validity of the SonicHand protocol, a new training and assessment method for the rehabilitation of hand function. The study was conducted in 15 healthy individuals and 15 stroke patients. The feasibility of implementation of the training protocol was tested in stroke patients only, who practiced a series of exercises concurrently to music sequences produced by specific movements. The assessment protocol evaluated hand motor performance during pronation/supination, wrist horizontal flexion/extension, and hand grasp without sonification. From hand position data, 15 quantitative parameters were computed evaluating mean velocity, movement smoothness, and angular excursions of hand/fingers. We validated this assessment in terms of its ability to discriminate between patients and healthy subjects, test-retest reliability and concurrent validity with the upper limb section of the Fugl-Meyer scale (FM), the functional independence measure (FIM), and the Box and Block Test (BBT). All patients showed a good understanding of the assigned tasks and were able to correctly execute the proposed training protocol, confirming its feasibility. A moderate-to-excellent intraclass correlation coefficient was found in 8/15 computed parameters. The moderate-to-strong correlation was found between the measured parameters and the clinical scales. The SonicHand training protocol is feasible and the assessment protocol showed good to excellent between-group discrimination ability, reliability, and concurrent validity, thus enabling the implementation of new personalized and motivating training programs employing sonification for the rehabilitation of hand function.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8667371
Pages (from-to)664-672
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2019


  • Hand function
  • motor assessment
  • neurorehabilitation
  • sonification
  • stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


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