Interdisciplinary Study of Neuroplasticity and Stroke Rehabilitation (ISNSR)
The purpose of this project is to provide new insight into the management of upper limb rehabilitation after stroke by bringing together investigators from complementary scientific disciplines with diverse research perspectives to focus on a circumscribed biomedical problem with high social relevance. This Exploratory Center grant involves researchers from Biokinesiology/Physical Therapy, Occupational Science/Occupational Therapy, USC Schools of Medicine, Engineering, and Communication, along with researchers from the University of Texas in Austin. The interdisciplinary team at USC launched this project with a focus on rehabilitation strategies for the arm and hand in individuals who have survived a stroke. Clinical and experimental studies will be linked with the bioinformatics group at USC in order to develop new data mining tools for sharing and analyzing data between projects. Investigation of the potential for certain molecules in the brain to help the injured neurons grow is also underway. These results may enhance the application of pharmacological and behavioral interventions currently known to improve recovery of function in stroke survivors.
More information on ISNSR is available here
Subproject 1: Neurorehabilitation Therapeutics in Stroke Patients
This project, directed by Professors Winstein and Chui, examines the relationship between severity and location of the initial lesion, and functional changes in brain activity patterns following task specific training, in stroke patients. Through the use of fMRI and behavioral assessments, researchers will determine the effects of the task specific training intervention at both the brain level (cortical re-organization) and the behavioral level (functional motor control). This research represents the human clinical test-bed for the development of new interventions in stroke neurorehabilitation encompassed in the Exploratory Center for Interdisciplinary Research.
More information on Subproject 1 is available here
Subproject 5: Computational Models of Stroke Neuro-Rehabilitation: Mirror Neurons, Observation, and Learning
This project, directed by Professors Arbib and Schweighofer, focuses on understanding the acquisition and re-acquisition after stroke, of the visual and proprioceptive control of coordinated arm and hand movements. The initial goal of this project is to develop a core model of reaching. This model will provide the base for a more elaborate study of coordinated hand and arm movements in humans, culminating in the analysis of movement imitation in humans in relation to rehabilitation. The findings of this project will contribute to the development of interventions to improve upper-extremity motor function after stroke.
More information on Subproject 5 is available here