Motor rehabilitation in stroke and traumatic brain injury: stimulating and intense

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Purpose of reviewThe purpose of this review is to provide an update on the latest neurorehabilitation literature for motor recovery in stroke and traumatic brain injury to assist clinical decision making and assessing future research directions.Recent findingsThe emerging approach to motor restoration is now multimodal. It engages the traditional multidisciplinary rehabilitation team, but incorporates highly structured activity-based therapies, pharmacology, brain stimulation and robotics. Clinical trial data support selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and amantadine to assist motor recovery poststroke and traumatic brain injury, respectively. Similarly, there is continued support for intensity as a key factor in activity-based therapies, across skilled and nonskilled interventions. Aerobic training appears to have multiple benefits; increasing the capacity to meet the demands of hemiparetic gait improves endurance for activities of daily living while promoting cognition and mood. At this time, the primary benefit of robotic therapy lies in the delivery of highly intense and repetitive motor practice. Both transcranial direct current and magnetic stimulation therapies are in early stages, but have promise in motor and language restoration.SummaryAdvancements in neurorehabilitation have shifted treatment away from nonspecific activity regimens and amphetamines. As the body of knowledge grows, evidence-based practice using interventions targeted at specific subgroups becomes progressively more feasible.

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