Plasticity and response to action observation: A longitudinal fMRI study in patients with subcortical stroke

Research Area: Research Year: 2011
Type of Publication: Oral presentation
Authors: Brunner, I.; Skouen, J. S.; Ersland, L.; Hugdahl, Kenneth; Grüner, Renate
Background: Action observation has been suggested as an approach to retraining motor function in patients post stroke. To understand brain plasticity, a new action observation fMRI task is proposed and applied in subacute stroke patients with reduced arm movement ability. Methods: From an ongoing study, six patients (65±11 years) with infarctions in either the pons or internal capsule were scanned twice; 1-2 and 12 weeks post stroke (3T, GE, US). The task-dependent fMRI acquisitions included coordinated bimanual movements (twisting a cylindrical device) and action observation (watching a video showing in alternating sequences either the same movements or a still image of a person performing the same task). fMRI activation maps (threshold p, and most patients had regained full movement ability. Conclusions: During the first three months post stroke an approximation towards normal activation patterns was seen, in accordance with clinical recovery. The proposed action observation task holds potential to identify plasticity changes in these patients.