New research on stroke aims to help recovery

Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability worldwide but new funding of $1.2 million for research at the University of Auckland aims to better help people recover normal movement after stroke.

Sport and Exercise Science Professor Winston Byblow and his team are investigating how affects "inhibitory tone" in the brain, which can lead to difficulties in producing movement. The study seeks to extend the group's world-leading discovery as to why some individuals make a good after stroke while others do not.

"This funding will help us identify new factors in the initial days and weeks following a stroke that may dictate a good versus poor recovery weeks and months later," Professor Byblow says.

The team, including Professor Alan Barber and Associate Professor Cathy Stinear from the University of Auckland Centre for Brain Research, will use magetic resonance spectroscopy to identify a "chemical signature" for each patient early after stroke. That signature will identify whether the stroke has created a barrier to plasticity, and be used to identify patients who need an additional boost to reach their full potential for recovery.

"This will allow us to individualise non-invasive , and should boost the brain's natural plastic response which is necessary for recovery," says Professor Byblow.

The direct current stimulation involves passing very weak current through the using a device powered by a 9V battery.

"The technique is known to be safe if administered in controlled environments. The difficulty with current methods of direct current stimulation for has been the variability in response from one patient to the next."

In a study published last year in the international journal Cerebral Cortex, Professor Byblow's group was the first to identify factors which predict the variation.

"We were pretty excited to 'crack the code' and discover why some patients respond favourably while others do not. That provided us with the missing piece of the puzzle we needed for this new study."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Predicting recovery after stroke

Aug 01, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- In work that may revolutionise rehabilitation for stroke patients, researchers from The University of Auckland and the Auckland District Health Board have shown it is possible to predict an individual’s ...

Molecule found that inhibits recovery from stroke

Jul 27, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- Researchers at UCLA have identified a novel molecule in the brain that, after stroke, blocks the formation of new connections between neurons. As a result, it limits the brain’s recovery. In a mouse ...

Recommended for you

Common infections tied to some stroke risk in kids

1 hour ago

A new study suggests that colds and other minor infections may temporarily increase stroke risk in children. The study found that the risk of stroke was increased only within a three-day period between a ...

Celebrities in 'Ice Bucket Challenge' to fight disease

12 hours ago

Steven Spielberg, Justin Bieber and Bill Gates are among many celebrities pouring buckets of ice water over their heads and donating to fight Lou Gehrig's disease, in a fundraising effort that has gone viral.

Study helps explain why elderly have trouble sleeping

13 hours ago

As people grow older, they often have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, and tend to awaken too early in the morning. In individuals with Alzheimer's disease, this common and troubling symptom ...

Targeted brain training may help you multitask better

15 hours ago

The area of the brain involved in multitasking and ways to train it have been identified by a research team at the IUGM Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal and the University of Montreal.

User comments