Side of lesion influences bilateral activation in chronic, post-stroke hemiparesis

Gwyn N. Lewis*, Eric J. Perreault

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine how stroke lesion side and ipsilateral motor pathways influence motor performance in bimanual tasks. Methods: Stroke subjects and age-matched controls participated in two data collection sessions: (1) motor behavior was examined during a movement task performed in unimanual, bimanual symmetric, and bimanual asymmetric conditions and (2) transcranial magnetic stimulation was used to examine the excitability of ipsilateral and contralateral motor pathways during isometric unilateral and bilateral muscle activation. Results: Subjects with left hemiparesis and controls demonstrated a performance differential between symmetric and asymmetric motor tasks compared to subjects with right hemiparesis. Contralateral motor pathway excitability decreased and ipsilateral pathway excitability increased during bilateral compared to unilateral activation in control subjects and in the non-affected arm of stroke subjects. Responses in the affected arm were similar to controls in subjects with left hemiparesis but not right. Conclusions: Changes in motor pathway excitability during bilateral activation may promote more stable performance of symmetric movements. In individuals with hemiparesis, the side of lesion influences neural and behavioral aspects of bimanual tasks. Those with injuries to the right hemisphere exhibit coupling that is more similar to age-matched controls. Significance: The efficacy of bilateral training interventions may be different between people with lesions in the left and right hemispheres.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2050-2062
Number of pages13
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2007


  • Interlimb coupling
  • Rehabilitation
  • Stroke
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation
  • Upper limb

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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