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Recovery of post stroke proximal arm function, driven by complex neuroplastic bilateral brain activation patterns and predicted by baseline motor dysfunction severity

By Svetlana ePundik, Svetlana ePundik, Jessica eMcCabe, Ken eHrovat, Alice E Fredrickson, Curtis eTatsuoka, I Jung eFeng and Janis J Daly and Janis J Daly


Objectives: Neuroplastic changes that drive recovery of shoulder/elbow function after stoke have been poorly understood. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between neuroplastic brain changes related to shoulder/elbow movement control in response to treatment and recovery of arm motor function in chronic stroke survivors. Methods: Twenty-three chronic stroke survivors were treated with 12 weeks of arm rehabilitation. Outcome measures included functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) for the shoulder/elbow components of reach and a skilled motor function test (Arm Motor Abilities Test (AMAT)), collected before and after treatment.Results: We observed two patterns of neuroplastic changes that were associated with gains in motor function: decreased or increased task-related brain activation. Those with significantly better motor function at baseline exhibited a decrease in brain activation in response to treatment, evident in the ipsilesional primary motor and contralesional supplementary motor regions; in contrast, those with greater baseline motor impairment, exhibited increased brain activation in response to treatment. There was an linear relationship between greater functional gain (AMAT) and increased activation in bilateral primary motor, contralesional primary and secondary sensory regions, and contralesional lateral premotor area, after adjusting for baseline AMAT, age, and time since stroke. Conclusions: Recovery of functional reach involves recruitment of several contralesional and bilateral primary motor regions. In response to intensive therapy, the direction of functional brain change (i.e. increase or decrease in task-related brain recruitment) for shoulder/elbow reach components depends on baseline level of motor function and may represent either different phases or different strategies of neuroplasticity that drive functional recovery

Topics: Stroke, functional magnetic resonance imaging, neuroplasticity, motor learning, motor recovery, motor rehabilitation
Publisher: Frontiers Media S.A.
Year: 2015
DOI identifier: 10.3389/fnhum.2015.00394
OAI identifier: oai:doaj.org/article:1bcdc956d63c4a53b677f3ce1b90469d
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