Stroke 2013 July-22

 

The myth of the ‘unaffected’ side after unilateral stroke: is reorganisation of the non-infarcted corticospinal system to re-establish balance the price for recovery?

Exp Neurol. 2012 Dec;238(2):168-75.

Graziadio S, Tomasevic L, Assenza G, Tecchio F, Eyre JA.

Developmental Neuroscience, Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. Sara.graziadio@ncl.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Bilateral changes in the hemispheric reorganisation have been observed chronically after unilateral stroke. Our hypotheses were that activity dependent competition between the lesioned and non-lesioned corticospinal systems would result in persisting asymmetry and be associated with poor recovery.

METHODS: Eleven subjects (medium 6.5 years after stroke) were compared to 9 age-matched controls. The power spectral density (PSD) of the sensorimotor electroencephalogram (SM1-EEG) and electromyogram (EMG) and corticomuscular coherence (CMC) were studied during rest and isometric contraction of right or left opponens pollicis (OP). Global recovery was assessed using NIH score.

FINDINGS: There was bilateral loss of beta frequency activity in the SM1-EEGs and OP-EMGs in strokes compared to controls. There was no difference between strokes and controls in symmetry indices estimated between the two corticospinal systems for SM1-EEG, OP-EMG and CMC. Performance correlated with preservation of beta frequency power in OP-EMG in both hands. Symmetry indices for the SM1-EEG, OP-EMG and CMC correlated with recovery.

INTERPRETATION: Significant changes occurred at both cortical and spinomuscular levels after stroke but to the same degree and in the same direction in both the lesioned and non-lesioned corticospinal systems. Global recovery correlated with the degree of symmetry between corticospinal systems at all three levels – cortical and spinomuscular levels and their connectivity (CMC), but not with the absolute degree of abnormality. Re-establishing balance between the corticospinal systems may be important for overall motor function, even if it is achieved at the expense of the non-lesioned system. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc.

PMID: 22981842

 

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