The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Occupational Therapy Program is pleased to publish these Critically Appraised Topics (CATS).  They were written by the students of the Class of 2012 as an assignment in the Evidence Based Practice Course.   CATS are structured around a clinical question that asks, “what is the effectiveness of (a particular intervention) compared with (a comparison intervention) to increase/decrease (specific outcome) in people with (a particular condition).  Each paper lays out the clinical question, provides theoretical, scientific, and medical background, details the search strategy used, summarizes the articles selected, analyzes one article in detail, and synthesizes the results of the articles to answer the clinical question posed. 

Please Note:
These CATS are a synthesis of 3 articles on the use of a specific intervention with a specific client problem.  The articles were selected because they were the newest and/or strongest evidence available but the entire body of literature available on these interventions was not reviewed for these papers.  The conclusions drawn about the effectiveness of the intervention are based on just the three articles selected: a more comprehensive review of all of the research on an intervention might yield a different conclusion.  These papers were reviewed by the course instructor and peer reviewed by other students in the course.

We hope that you will find the information in these CATS useful and spark your interest to learn more about the interventions.   

Peggy Denton, PhD, OTR, FAOTA
Director, Occupational Therapy Program

Handouts accompanying the 2011-12 CATS projects

2011-12 CATS Handouts


Motor Recovery and Upper Extremity Function

Mirror Therapy to improve motor recovery and upper extremity function in adults with hemiparesis after a first CVA
Kathryn Bakke
                    Lea Bergsten
                    Kristi Perkins
                    Cortney Wakefield

Mental Practice to improve upper extremity functional performance with adults less than one year post CVA
Scott Dremsa

Mental Practice to improve upper extremity motor function with adults more than one year post CVA
Kristin Farrington
            Jamie Nichols

Bilateral Training to improve neuromuscular skills and ADL performance with adults with CVA
Danielle Hildebrandt

Bilateral Training with Rhythmic Auditory Cuing to improve upper extremity function and cortical reorganization with adults with CVA
                    Laura Barquest O'Brien

Functional Electric Stimulation to improve upper extremity motor function and ADLs with adults with acute or subacute CVA
Crystal Keeney

Constraint Induced Movement Therapy to improve upper extremity functioning for adults less than 9 months post CVA 
Lee Lohrentz

Virtual Reality to improve upper extremity motor function and ADL for adults with CVA
Dana McGovern
                    Amelia Paraskevas

Hemispatial Neglect

Limb Activation Training to improve hemispatial neglect in adults less than 6 months post CVA
Katie Becker
                    Allison Fowler

Prism Adaptation Therapy to improve ADL’s for adults with mild hemineglect
Laura Reckard Dietsche

Shoulder Subluxation

            Electrical Stimulation to reduce shoulder subluxation in adults with CVA
 Theresa Betz Parry

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Nerve and Tendon Gliding Exercises to improve hand function and reduce symptom severity in adults with carpal tunnel syndrome
Samantha Lee

Impaired Self-Awareness

Self-Awareness Training to increase self-awareness and cognitive processing skills for adults with acquired brain injury
Lisa Rohde


            Multi-Sensory Stimulation to improve mood and behavior in adults with Dementia
Cortney Leverentz


Autism Spectrum Disorders

            Social Stories to improve social skills for children with autism spectrum disorders
Hiromi Ikeuchi

Lego Therapy to improve social skills for children with autism spectrum disorders
Shawna Ocaranza

Anxiety Disorders

Group cognitive therapy behavior (CBT) versus individual CBT for children with anxiety symptoms and anxiety disorder
Young Na Lee 

Illegible Handwriting

Handwriting intervention versus no intervention for children age 6-11 with illegible handwriting
Morgan Hellenbrand


            Virtual Reality to reduce pain in children with severe burns
Heather Slinde deSonza

Upper Extremity Motor Function

Constraint Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT) versus Bimanual Therapy (HABIT training) to improve upper extremity function in children with cerebral palsy    
Anna Smith