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Background. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is a promising method for quantifying brain recovery and investigating the intervention-induced changes in corticomotor excitability after stroke. This study aimed to evaluate cortical reorganization subsequent to virtual reality-enhanced treadmill (VRET) training in subacute stroke survivors. Methods. Eight participants with ischemic stroke underwent VRET for 5 sections per week and for 3 weeks. fMRI was conducted to quantify the activity of selected brain regions when the subject performed ankle dorsiflexion. Gait speed and clinical scales were also measured before and after intervention. Results. Increased activation in the primary sensorimotor cortex of the lesioned hemisphere and supplementary motor areas of both sides for the paretic foot () was observed postintervention. Statistically significant improvements were observed in gait velocity (). The change in voxel counts in the primary sensorimotor cortex of the lesioned hemisphere is significantly correlated with improvement of 10 m walk time after VRET (). Conclusions. We observed improved walking and increased activation in cortical regions of stroke survivors after VRET training. Moreover, the cortical recruitment was associated with better walking function. Our study suggests that cortical networks could be a site of plasticity, and their recruitment may be one mechanism of training-induced recovery of gait function in stroke. This trial is registered with ChiCTR-IOC-15006064.
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Citation / Publisher Attribution
Behavioural Neurology, v. 2017, art. 6261479
Scholar Commons Citation
Xiao, Xiang; Lin, Qiang; Lo, Wai-Leung; Mao, Yu-Rong; Cates, Ryan S.; Zhou, Shu-Feng; Huang, Dong-Feng; and Li, Le, "Cerebral Reorganization in Subacute Stroke Survivors after Virtual Reality-Based Training: A Preliminary Study" (2017). Pharmacy Faculty Publications. 76.