Project: Cognitive recovery after stroke. Translational approach to new therapies of higher motor deficits.

Stroke is a major cause of chronic motor disability in humans. The human brain has a remarkable capacity to reorganize in response to such injury, yet the complex mechanisms underlying recovery are still not well understood and evidence based standards for the rehabilitation of motor or cognitive motor functions after stroke are not well established. The starting point for this proposal are established motor training protocols that have been intensively investigated in our labs in recent years and have been shown to mobilize the potential for experience-driven brain plasticity, in children and young adults, and in consolidating these skilled movements into long-lasting motor memory. The aim of the present project is to bring together experimental and clinical research on neural and behavioural aspects of motor learning and motor skill re-learning in healthy older adults (the age group in which stroke is a major concern) and in stroke patients with a motor disability affecting learned and purposeful movements (limb apraxia). The aim is to translate, test and optimize laboratory protocols into effective treatment protocols for the recovery from motor deficits after stroke. Specifically, we aim to test whether, how effectively and through which neural substrates do these protocols mobilize the potential for motor skill acquisition and motor system plasticity in older individuals and apraxic patients; whether treatment protocols can be optimized for the elderly by manipulating factors such as time of day, affordance of daytime sleep, avoidance of interference; and whether enhancing procedures – transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and action observation training (AOT) that have been proposed as adjuvants of neurological rehabilitation – help in augmenting motor skill acquisition and motor system plasticity in older adults. The combination of clinical and basic research makes this project an interdisciplinary, translational and highly relevant proof of concept study in which the same questions are approached through different methodologies while combining the unique expertise of each group to successfully create a novel therapeutic approach.

Duration 01/04/2012 - 31/03/2015
Network NEURON
Call NEURON-2011 Cerebrovascular Diseases

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 University Hospital Aachen, RWTH Aachen University Coordinator Germany
2 IRCCS Neuromed, Istituto Neurologico Mediterraneo Partner Italy
3 University of Leipzig Partner Germany
4 University of Montreal Partner Canada
5 University of Haifa Partner Israel