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FEATURE ARTICLE

Brain Plasticity and Recovery from Stroke

What has changed in the brain of a stroke patient who recovers the ability to move a once-disabled limb?

R?diger J. Seitz, Nina Azari

Figure 4. PET (positron emission tomography)Click to Enlarge Image

The brain has a remarkable ability to reorganize itself throughout the human life span. The most extraordinary example may be the remodeling of the cerebral cortex after an injury in which a large part of it simply dies. It is not uncommon for stroke patients who have lost the ability to speak or to move a limb to regain function after several weeks of convalescence. How does the brain recover? Using neuro-imaging techniques, Azari and Seitz found a multi-stage process of recovery during which different parts of the brain compensate for the injured region at different times. The results may have implications for therapeutic interventions after a stroke.


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