Stroke is the leading cause of serious, long-term disability among American adults and places a tremendous burden on both the private and public health resources of the nation. Each year in the United States over 700,000 people suffer a stroke, and nearly 450,000 survive with some form of neurologic impairment that significantly impacts functional independence, health and quality of life for stroke survivors. In addition, with the population progressively getting older, and obesity and heart disease on the rise, it is estimated that the number of stroke patients will more then double over the next 50 years, making the need to develop new and innovative rehabilitation programs to treat the growing number of stroke survivors a national priority.
The overall goal of the USC/UT Exploratory Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Neuroplasticity and Stroke Rehabilitation is to gain a better understanding of how critical factors such the focus of therapy (skilled learning vs. motor activity), the intensity and timing of therapy, patient motivation, mental practice and the neural mechanisms that underlie the recovery process interact to impact the effectiveness of rehabilitation therapy. The Center brings together investigators from the from the biological, behavioral, computational and engineering sciences with expertise in methods encompassing molecular and cell biology, behavioral neuroscience, bioinformatics, computational modeling, virtual environment technology, haptics, biostatistics and physical therapy to address this complex problem. The aims of the planning grant are:
- to broaden our understanding of the key factors that modulate neuroplasticity and the recovery of function after brain injury.
- build a foundation of interdisciplinary scientific knowledge that can be used in the development of innovative and more effective therapeutic interventions to enhance the health and independence of persons with post-stroke disabilities.
- provide an interdisciplinary training opportunity for (basic science and clinical) graduate and post-doctoral students to develop as independent research scientists equipped to work both within and across scientific disciplines.
The Center is funded as part of the National Institutes of Health Roadmap Initiative, grant number P20 RR20700-01. NIH Program Administrator: Dr. Greg Faber