Author(s): Plautz EJ, Barbay S, Frost SB, Friel KM, Dancause N,
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Abstract Stroke is often characterized by incomplete recovery and chronic motor impairments. A nonhuman primate model of cortical ischemia was used to evaluate the feasibility of using device-assisted cortical stimulation combined with rehabilitative training to enhance behavioral recovery and cortical plasticity. Following pre-infarct training on a unimanual motor task, maps of movement representations in primary motor cortex were derived. Then, an ischemic infarct was produced which destroyed the hand representation. Several weeks later, a second cortical map was derived to guide implantation of a surface electrode over peri-infarct motor cortex. After several months of spontaneous recovery, monkeys underwent subthreshold electrical stimulation combined with rehabilitative training for several weeks. Post-therapy behavioral performance was tracked for several additional months. A third cortical map was derived several weeks post-therapy to examine changes in motor representations. Monkeys showed significant improvements in motor performance (success, speed, and efficiency) following therapy, which persisted for several months. Cortical mapping revealed large-scale emergence of new hand representations in peri-infarct motor cortex, primarily in cortical tissue underlying the electrode. Results support the feasibility of using a therapy approach combining peri-infarct electrical stimulation with rehabilitative training to alleviate chronic motor deficits and promote recovery from cortical ischemic injury.
This article was published in Neurol Res
and referenced in International Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation