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Publication Detail
Time-dependent functional role of the contralesional motor cortex after stroke.
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
  • Authors:
    Volz LJ, Vollmer M, Michely J, Fink GR, Rothwell JC, Grefkes C
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    165, 174
  • Journal:
    NeuroImage. Clinical
  • Volume:
  • Medium:
  • Print ISSN:
  • Language:
  • Addresses:
    SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA.
After stroke, movements of the paretic hand rely on altered motor network dynamics typically including additional activation of the contralesional primary motor cortex (M1). The functional implications of contralesional M1 recruitment to date remain a matter of debate. We here assessed the role of contralesional M1 in 12 patients recovering from a first-ever stroke using online transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS): Short bursts of TMS were administered over contralesional M1 or a control site (occipital vertex) while patients performed different motor tasks with their stroke-affected hand. In the early subacute phase (1-2 weeks post-stroke), we observed significant improvements in maximum finger tapping frequency when interfering with contralesional M1, while maximum grip strength and speeded movement initiation remained unaffected. After > 3 months of motor recovery, disruption of contralesional M1 activity did not interfere with performance in any of the three tasks, similar to what we observed in healthy controls. In patients with mild to moderate motor deficits, contralesional M1 has a task- and time-specific negative influence on motor performance of the stroke-affected hand. Our results help to explain previous contradicting findings on the role of contralesional M1 in recovery of function.
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