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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2017, Article ID 8796239, 8 pages
Research Article

Sensorimotor Cortical Neuroplasticity in the Early Stage of Bell’s Palsy

1The First Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang Chinese Medical University, Hangzhou, China
2Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, MA 02129, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Maosheng Xu; nc.ude.umcz@661smux and Jian Kong; ude.dravrah.hgm@2gnokj

Received 16 August 2016; Revised 22 December 2016; Accepted 5 January 2017; Published 19 February 2017

Academic Editor: Lin Xu

Copyright © 2017 Wenwen Song 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.


Neuroplasticity is a common phenomenon in the human brain following nerve injury. It is defined as the brain’s ability to reorganize by creating new neural pathways in order to adapt to change. Here, we use task-related and resting-state fMRI to investigate neuroplasticity in the primary sensory (S1) and motor cortex (M1) in patients with acute Bell’s palsy (BP). We found that the period directly following the onset of BP (less than 14 days) is associated with significant decreases in regional homogeneity (ReHo), fractional amplitude of low frequency fluctuations (fALFF), and intrinsic connectivity contrast (ICC) values in the contralateral S1/M1 and in ReHo and ICC values in the ipsilateral S1/M1, compared to healthy controls. The regions with decreased ReHo, fALFF, and ICC values were in both the face and hand region of S1/M1 as indicated by resting-state fMRI but not task-related fMRI. Our results suggest that the early stages of BP are associated with functional neuroplasticity in both the face and hand regions of S1/M1 and that resting-state functional fMRI may be a sensitive tool to detect these early stages of plasticity in patient populations.