Modulation of training by single-session transcranial direct current stimulation to the intact motor cortex enhances motor skill acquisition of the paretic hand.
ABSTRACT Mechanisms of skill learning are paramount components for stroke recovery. Recent noninvasive brain stimulation studies demonstrated that decreasing activity in the contralesional motor cortex might be beneficial, providing transient functional improvements after stroke. The more crucial question, however, is whether this intervention can also enhance the acquisition of complex motor tasks, yielding longer-lasting functional improvements. In the present study, we tested the capacity of cathodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) applied over the contralesional motor cortex during training to enhance the acquisition and retention of complex sequential finger movements of the paretic hand.
Twelve well-recovered chronic patients with subcortical stroke attended 2 training sessions during which either cathodal tDCS or a sham intervention were applied to the contralesional motor cortex in a double-blind, crossover design. Two different motor sequences, matched for their degree of complexity, were tested in a counterbalanced order during as well as 90 minutes and 24 hours after the intervention. Potential underlying mechanisms were evaluated with transcranial magnetic stimulation.
tDCS facilitated the acquisition of a new motor skill compared with sham stimulation (P=0.04) yielding better task retention results. A significant correlation was observed between the tDCS-induced improvement during training and the tDCS-induced changes of intracortical inhibition (R(2)=0.63).
These results indicate that tDCS is a promising tool to improve not only motor behavior, but also procedural learning. They further underline the potential of noninvasive brain stimulation as an adjuvant treatment for long-term recovery, at least in patients with mild functional impairment after stroke.
Article: Hyperbaric Oxygen Induces Late Neuroplasticity in Post Stroke Patients - Randomized, Prospective Trial.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Recovery after stroke correlates with non-active (stunned) brain regions, which may persist for years. The current study aimed to evaluate whether increasing the level of dissolved oxygen by Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) could activate neuroplasticity in patients with chronic neurologic deficiencies due to stroke. METHODS AND FINDINGS: A prospective, randomized, controlled trial including 74 patients (15 were excluded). All participants suffered a stroke 6-36 months prior to inclusion and had at least one motor dysfunction. After inclusion, patients were randomly assigned to "treated" or "cross" groups. Brain activity was assessed by SPECT imaging; neurologic functions were evaluated by NIHSS, ADL, and life quality. Patients in the treated group were evaluated twice: at baseline and after 40 HBOT sessions. Patients in the cross group were evaluated three times: at baseline, after a 2-month control period of no treatment, and after subsequent 2-months of 40 HBOT sessions. HBOT protocol: Two months of 40 sessions (5 days/week), 90 minutes each, 100% oxygen at 2 ATA. We found that the neurological functions and life quality of all patients in both groups were significantly improved following the HBOT sessions while no improvement was found during the control period of the patients in the cross group. Results of SPECT imaging were well correlated with clinical improvement. Elevated brain activity was detected mostly in regions of live cells (as confirmed by CT) with low activity (based on SPECT) - regions of noticeable discrepancy between anatomy and physiology. CONCLUSIONS: The results indicate that HBOT can lead to significant neurological improvements in post stroke patients even at chronic late stages. The observed clinical improvements imply that neuroplasticity can still be activated long after damage onset in regions where there is a brain SPECT/CT (anatomy/physiology) mismatch. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00715897.PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(1):e53716. · 4.09 Impact Factor
Article: Hyperbaric Oxygen Induces Late Neuroplasticity in Post Stroke Patients -Randomized, Prospective Trial[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Background: Recovery after stroke correlates with non-active (stunned) brain regions, which may persist for years. The current study aimed to evaluate whether increasing the level of dissolved oxygen by Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) could activate neuroplasticity in patients with chronic neurologic deficiencies due to stroke.PLoS ONE 01/2013; · 4.09 Impact Factor