Neural plasticity in moderate to severe chronic stroke following a device-assisted task-specific arm/hand intervention

Kevin B. Wilkins, Meriel Owen, Carson Ingo, Carolina Carmona, Julius P.A. Dewald, Jun Yao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Currently, hand rehabilitation following stroke tends to focus on mildly impaired individuals, partially due to the inability for severely impaired subjects to sufficiently use the paretic hand. Device-assisted interventions offer a means to include this more severe population and show promising behavioral results. However, the ability for this population to demonstrate neural plasticity, a crucial factor in functional recovery following effective post-stroke interventions, remains unclear. This study aimed to investigate neural changes related to hand function induced by a device-assisted task-specific intervention in individuals with moderate to severe chronic stroke (upper extremity Fugl-Meyer < 30). We examined functional cortical reorganization related to paretic hand opening and gray matter (GM) structural changes using a multimodal imaging approach. Individuals demonstrated a shift in cortical activity related to hand opening from the contralesional to the ipsilesional hemisphere following the intervention. This was driven by decreased activity in contralesional primary sensorimotor cortex and increased activity in ipsilesional secondary motor cortex. Additionally, subjects displayed increased GM density in ipsilesional primary sensorimotor cortex and decreased GM density in contralesional primary sensorimotor cortex. These findings suggest that despite moderate to severe chronic impairments, post-stroke participants maintain ability to show cortical reorganization and GM structural changes following a device-assisted task-specific arm/hand intervention. These changes are similar as those reported in post-stroke individuals with mild impairment, suggesting that residual neural plasticity in more severely impaired individuals may have the potential to support improved hand function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number284
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Volume8
Issue numberJUN
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 14 2017

Keywords

  • Cortical reorganization
  • EEG
  • Functional electrical stimulation
  • Gray matter
  • Hand rehabilitation
  • Neuroplasticity
  • Stroke
  • Voxel-based morphometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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