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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2013, Article ID 854597, 16 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/854597
Review Article

Noninvasive Strategies to Promote Functional Recovery after Stroke

1Department of Neuroscience, Neuroscience Institute of Turin, University of Turin, Regione Gonzole 10, 10043 Orbassano (Turin), Italy
2Neuroscience Institute Cavalieri-Ottolenghi (NICO), University of Turin, Regione Gonzole 10, 10043 Orbassano (Turin), Italy
3IRCCS Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Corso Goffredo Mameli 197, 28921 Verbania, Italy
4Department of Neuroscience, University of Turin, Via Cherasco 15, 10126 Turin, Italy

Received 5 April 2013; Accepted 2 June 2013

Academic Editor: Alessandro Sale

Copyright © 2013 Alessio Faralli et al. 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

Stroke is a common and disabling global health-care problem, which is the third most common cause of death and one of the main causes of acquired adult disability in many countries. Rehabilitation interventions are a major component of patient care. In the last few years, brain stimulation, mirror therapy, action observation, or mental practice with motor imagery has emerged as interesting options as add-on interventions to standard physical therapies. The neural bases for poststroke recovery rely on the concept of plasticity, namely, the ability of central nervous system cells to modify their structure and function in response to external stimuli. In this review, we will discuss recent noninvasive strategies employed to enhance functional recovery in stroke patients and we will provide an overview of neural plastic events associated with rehabilitation in preclinical models of stroke.