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Stroke

Brain Can Rewire After Stroke

16 years, 10 months ago

1898  0
Posted on Sep 30, 2002, 6 a.m. By Bill Freeman

Researchers at the University of Alabama in Birmingham are the first to demonstrate the capacity for the human brain to heal itself after stroke. The team studied hand muscles of 13 stroke patients; 10 men and three women. This hand muscle is controlled by the cerebral cortex, a section of the brain.

Researchers at the University of Alabama in Birmingham are the first to demonstrate the capacity for the human brain to heal itself after stroke. The team studied hand muscles of 13 stroke patients; 10 men and three women. This hand muscle is controlled by the cerebral cortex, a section of the brain. The rehabilitation technique involved a 2-3 week period during which doctors restrained the arm less affected by the stroke for 90 percent of each patient's waking hours, thereby forcing the patient to use the arm affected by the stroke. Researchers found that the cerebral cortex damaged during the stroke grew in size after rehabilitation. Forcing the affected arm to move, while keeping the unaffected arm restrained, may stimulate brain cells or tissue in the damaged area of the brain, or both, possibly causing the brain to rewire itself. The team suggests that brain cells may be able to rewire themselves after being damaged by a stroke, which increases the odds of their regaining language and motor skill control.

SOURCE/REFERENCE: Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, June 2000

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