Neuroplasticity and brain repair after stroke

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Purpose of reviewThis review considers recent insights into the neurobiology of repair after stroke in animals and humans, the range of emerging therapies to promote repair and recovery after the acute phase of stroke, and issues related to optimizing trials of such therapies.Recent findingsAnimal studies continue to shed light on the molecular, vascular, glial, neuronal, behavioral, and environmental events that are important to the spontaneous behavioral recovery that is observed during the weeks after a stroke. Animal and human studies are examining a wide range of potential interventions that may favorably modify outcome, including small molecules, growth factors, cell-based approaches, electromagnetic stimulation, a range of devices and robots, and intense physiotherapy methods, including constraint-induced movement therapy. Optimal prescription of these restorative therapies in human patients with stroke requires further study, including defining potential roles for functional neuroimaging.SummaryA wide range of therapies shows promise for improving poststroke brain repair. Insights into the neurobiology of brain repair after stroke in animals and in humans continue to accrue. This information might prove useful in designing and implementing clinical trials that aim to measure the clinical effects of restorative therapies after stroke.

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