5 years ago

Role of the Contralesional vs. Ipsilesional Hemisphere in Stroke Recovery.

Prabhakaran, Nair, Dodd
Following a stroke, the resulting lesion creates contralateral motor impairment and an interhemispheric imbalance involving hyperexcitability of the contralesional hemisphere. Neuronal reorganization may occur on both the ipsilesional and contralesional hemispheres during recovery to regain motor functionality and therefore bilateral activation for the hemiparetic side is often observed. Although ipsilesional hemispheric reorganization is traditionally thought to be most important for successful recovery, definitive conclusions into the role and importance of the contralesional motor cortex remain under debate. Through examining recent research in functional neuroimaging investigating motor cortex changes post-stroke, as well as brain-computer interface (BCI) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapies, this review attempts to clarify the contributions of each hemisphere toward recovery. Several functional magnetic resonance imaging studies suggest that continuation of contralesional hemisphere hyperexcitability correlates with lesser recovery, however a subset of well-recovered patients demonstrate contralesional motor activity and show decreased functional capability when the contralesional hemisphere is inhibited. BCI therapy may beneficially activate either the contralesional or ipsilesional hemisphere, depending on the study design, for chronic stroke patients who are otherwise at a functional plateau. Repetitive TMS used to excite the ipsilesional motor cortex or inhibit the contralesional hemisphere has shown promise in enhancing stroke patients' recovery.

Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2017.00469

DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2017.00469

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