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Stroke Research and Treatment
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 128641, 13 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/128641
Review Article

Rehabilitation with Poststroke Motor Recovery: A Review with a Focus on Neural Plasticity

Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, 2-1 Seiryo-cho, Aoba-ku, Sendai 980-8575, Japan

Received 8 February 2013; Revised 9 April 2013; Accepted 10 April 2013

Academic Editor: Magdy Selim

Copyright © 2013 Naoyuki Takeuchi and Shin-Ichi Izumi. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Motor recovery after stroke is related to neural plasticity, which involves developing new neuronal interconnections, acquiring new functions, and compensating for impairment. However, neural plasticity is impaired in the stroke-affected hemisphere. Therefore, it is important that motor recovery therapies facilitate neural plasticity to compensate for functional loss. Stroke rehabilitation programs should include meaningful, repetitive, intensive, and task-specific movement training in an enriched environment to promote neural plasticity and motor recovery. Various novel stroke rehabilitation techniques for motor recovery have been developed based on basic science and clinical studies of neural plasticity. However, the effectiveness of rehabilitative interventions among patients with stroke varies widely because the mechanisms underlying motor recovery are heterogeneous. Neurophysiological and neuroimaging studies have been developed to evaluate the heterogeneity of mechanisms underlying motor recovery for effective rehabilitation interventions after stroke. Here, we review novel stroke rehabilitation techniques associated with neural plasticity and discuss individualized strategies to identify appropriate therapeutic goals, prevent maladaptive plasticity, and maximize functional gain in patients with stroke.