Long-Term Effects of Stroke on Neuronal Rest Activity in Rolandic Cortical Areas

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To understand the relationship between neuronal function and clinical state in the framework of stroke, the long-term poststroke rolandic spontaneous neuronal activity was studied by means of magnetoencephalography. Fifty-six patients who had suffered a unilateral stroke within the middle cerebral artery were enrolled. Median time since stroke was 2.8 years. In association with lesion features and clinical picture, total and relative band powers and the spectral entropy were analyzed in the affected (AH) and unaffected (UH) hemispheres in comparison with an age-matched control group. An increase of absolute and relative slow band powers and a reduction of relative fast band powers were found in patients' AH with respect to both UH and control values. Absolute delta band was higher than in controls also in UH. New findings were the increase of rolandic rest activity power also in the alpha band and the decrease of spectral entropy in AH with respect to both UH and control values. Moreover, our results in chronic stroke patients indicate frequency-selective alterations related to specific dysfunctions: global clinical status was mostly impaired in patients with larger lesions and increased total and slow band activity powers, whereas hand functionality was mostly disrupted in patients with subcortical involvement and reduction of high-frequency rhythms and spectral entropy. Total power increase and spectral richness decrease are in agreement with a higher synchrony of local neuronal activity, a reduction of the intracortical inhibitory network's efficiency, and an increase of neuronal excitability.

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