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Efficacy of Multimodal Sensory Therapy in Adult Acquired Brain Injury: A Systematic Review

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posted on 2024-02-02, 02:32 authored by MF Norwood, Ali LakhaniAli Lakhani, DP Watling, CH Marsh, H Zeeman
Adults who experience an acquired brain injury often experience disorders of consciousness, physical difficulties, and maladaptive behaviours. Multimodal sensory therapy may benefit brain injured patients, however the extent this therapy can facilitate rehabilitation is not well understood. This systematic review aimed to synthesize multimodal sensory therapy research for adults affected by acquired brain injury. PRISMA guidelines were followed and searches for work published up until July 2021 were undertaken in 5 databases, finding 1054 articles. 43 articles were included in the study. Results describe 29 studies related to coma following an acquired brain injury and 14 to no coma studies (mostly stroke). Multimodal sensory therapy was mostly used as a coma arousal technique following traumatic brain injury, finding positive effects. Multimodal sensory therapy was less applied in stroke, no coma rehabilitation, where most studies found improvement in somatosensory sensation and motor control in an affected limb. In several no coma studies, effects were maintained after several months. The most common senses stimulated in coma studies were audio (N = 30), tactile (N = 28), visual (N = 26), olfactory (N = 22), and gustatory (N = 17), while the most common senses stimulated in stroke, no coma studies were proprioception (N = 7), tactile (N = 8), and stereognosis (N = 4). Multimodal sensory therapy can be beneficial for patients, especially those in a minimally conscious state or attempting physical rehabilitation following stroke. Negative findings are infrequent in the current literature base. Multimodal sensory therapy appears to be a low-risk intervention with positive outcomes.


Publication Date



Neuropsychology Review




(p. 693-713)


Springer Nature



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