New research on stroke aims to help recovery

June 20, 2014

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."

Explore further: Molecule found that inhibits recovery from stroke

Related Stories

Molecule found that inhibits recovery from stroke

July 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 ...

Predicting recovery after stroke

August 1, 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 ...

Recommended for you

Umbilical cells help eye's neurons connect

November 24, 2015

Cells isolated from human umbilical cord tissue have been shown to produce molecules that help retinal neurons from the eyes of rats grow, connect and survive, according to Duke University researchers working with Janssen ...

Brain connections predict how well you can pay attention

November 24, 2015

During a 1959 television appearance, Jack Kerouac was asked how long it took him to write his novel On The Road. His response – three weeks – amazed the interviewer and ignited an enduring myth that the book was composed ...

No cable spaghetti in the brain

November 24, 2015

Our brain is a mysterious machine. Billions of nerve cells are connected such that they store information as efficiently as books are stored in a well-organized library. To this date, many details remain unclear, for instance ...

Neurons encoding hand shapes identified in human brain

November 23, 2015

Neural prosthetic devices, which include small electrode arrays implanted in the brain, can allow paralyzed patients to control the movement of a robotic limb, whether that limb is attached to the individual or not. In May ...

Wireless sensor enables study of traumatic brain injury

November 23, 2015

A new system that uses a wireless implant has been shown to record for the first time how brain tissue deforms when subjected to the kind of shock that causes blast-induced trauma commonly seen in combat veterans.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.